Greater collaboration and maintained vigilance is necessary to achieve the National Strategic Plan for Elimination of Malaria by 2025, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine has said, despite Cambodia having had no deaths from the disease in the past four years.

Vandine’s remarks were made on March 2 at a working meeting at the Ministry of Health with Pedro Alonso, Director of the World Health Organisation’s Global Malaria Programme, along with officials and technical advisers from WHO headquarters.

At the meeting, she discussed the efforts of the Malaria Eradication Programme in Cambodia, saying that the health and well-being of the Cambodian people were the motivations behind the initiation and implementation of the National Strategic Plan for Elimination of Malaria 2011-2025.

The strategic plan and other guidelines aimed at eliminating active malaria had been laid out over a number of years, Vandine said.

“As a result of 10 years of implementation of the National Strategic Plan for Elimination of Malaria ... the malaria death rate has fallen to zero deaths from this disease since 2018. This proves that Cambodia has achieved success three years prior to the set goal,” she said.

The Ministry of Health said in a Facebook post that the meeting with the WHO officials aimed to discuss the work that had been done to eradicate malaria in Cambodia, and focused on a number of key issues to achieve the goal of zero malaria by 2025.

The Facebook post said that Cambodia must continue to focus on reducing both the falciparum and vivax strains of the disease. The number of malaria cases has fallen by 97.5 per cent over the period from 2011 to 2021.

The Facebook post further stated that the last step in eliminating malaria was the most important in achieving the goal and preventing reoccurrence of the disease in areas where it was prevalent prior to the eradication programme.

“We will continue to reduce malaria-infected areas in the country. We will reduce infectious cases and deaths from malaria until there are no reported cases of malaria – zero cases – and strengthen this work at the local level using the malaria Monitoring and Surveillance System to facilitate the work of collecting data and entering it in a timely manner,” the post said.

The National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control said on February 22 that 4,279 cases of malaria were recorded in 2021, with an incidence rate of 0.26/ 1,000 people – representing a decrease of 54 per cent compared to 2020.

In 2021, 320 cases of falciparum malaria were recorded - a sharp decrease of 66 per cent compared to 2020.