Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Next step in malaria strategy: paying for it

Next step in malaria strategy: paying for it

A man hangs up a mosquito net to dry after applying insect repellent to it. Yesterday officials met to discuss implementation strategies for the first two years of critical malaria surveillance programs.
A man hangs up a mosquito net to dry after applying insect repellent to it. Yesterday officials met to discuss implementation strategies for the first two years of critical malaria surveillance programs. Sovan Philong

Next step in malaria strategy: paying for it

Following Wednesday’s announcement of an ambitious new five-year plan to eliminate malaria in Cambodia, National Centre for Malaria (CNM) officials and donors met again yesterday, this time to discuss patching up a $22.8 million budget gap to fund the strategy’s first two years.

Financial estimates presented by the centre’s Dr Siv Sovannaroth show that only $26.1 million of the $48.9 million projected budget for 2016-2017 is currently available to pay for malaria surveillance programs developed for the new policy.

“We cannot talk about elimination without surveillance,” Dr Luciano Tuseo, malaria program head for WHO Cambodia, told attendees.

According to a concept note distributed to donors yesterday, the new surveillance system seeks to improve on an old one it describes as “inefficient and duplicative”.

Indeed, it was not until 2014 that malaria cases treated by the private sector were even included in national statistics.

That first year, they accounted for about 17,000 cases on top of the 56,271 public sector cases, according to Population Services Khmer representative Abigail Pratt, who said that private health care providers had “previously been a black hole of information”.

According to the malaria centre, the new system will include the creation of an operations manual – “three or four weeks from being finalised” – which will be deployed nationally to standardise reporting.

So-called “active surveillance” relies heavily on thousands of “Village Malaria Workers” (VMWs) and other staff that – if the plan succeeds – would be able to ensure a response “within 48 hours” after cases are reported via phone, triggering an alert to local health centres and operational district staff.

Under the new plan, these gaps in reporting would be closed and a centralised “Malaria Information System” that all partner organisations would feed into would be established.

Despite the budget shortfall, both CNM officials and donors were optimistic about closing the gap, which they said could be done in part by simply re-allocating existing funds.

“Some activities are underfunded and some are overfunded,” Sovannaroth said, adding that other internationally funded projects addressing malaria could be “realigned” to fulfil MEAF’s needs.

Major donor Global Fund’s Cambodia portfolio manager Nicole Delaney noted the potential to extend existing grant money and assured a commitment to funding VMWs “into the future”.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that for 2014, about 17,000 malaria cases out of a total of 56,271 were treated by private healthcare providers. In fact, private healthcare providers treated 17,000 cases in addition to the 56,271 treated by public providers. The Post apologises for any confusion caused.


  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • NBC eyes KHQR payments in Laos, Vietnam

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is working with Lao and Vietnamese authorities to expand the use of KHQR code cross-border payment systems to promote trade and investment as well as increase the scope of regional economic linkages, and in particular, facilitate remittances from overseas

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’