Records for one out of every three HIV patients were lost this month when a fire destroyed computers at Battambang province’s Roka Referral Hospital, which is located in an area hit by one of Cambodia’s worst HIV outbreaks in recent memory.
Eng Samnang, director of the Roka Referral Hospital, said that on January 7, one building at the hospital housing equipment and vaccinations was destroyed by a fire caused by an electric malfunction. Samnang said no HIV medication was lost during the fire, but some patients’ records were lost when the computers were consumed.
The records consist of the patients’ identities, home addresses, medication, medical history and patient progress. According to Samnang there are currently 266 patients in Roka commune.
“We thought it was going to be difficult, but now we informed the people, so when they come, we can start [taking their details] again,” he said.
A HIV outbreak swept through Roka commune in 2014 when unlicensed doctor Yem Chroeum spread the virus to nearly 300 villagers by using tainted needles. Chroeum was sentenced to 25 years in prison in December 2015.
A day after the fire, the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STDs sent officials down to the hospital to provide support, Samnang said. The centre provided support in helping retrieve some information from the computers.