Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Program to fight hepatitis C

Program to fight hepatitis C

A doctor consults with a patient about hepatitis C treatment yesterday afternoon at Phnom Penh’s Preah Kossamak Hospital.
A doctor consults with a patient about hepatitis C treatment yesterday afternoon at Phnom Penh’s Preah Kossamak Hospital. Yesenia Amaro

Program to fight hepatitis C

As of yesterday, a new program in Cambodia aimed at helping diagnose and treat people with hepatitis C – free of charge – had already seen about 500 patients in Phnom Penh in the course of less than a month, organisers said.

Médecins sans Frontières is working with the Ministry of Health on the new program, which will eventually expand to other parts of the country, according to Christophe Biteau, head of mission for MSF.

Under the program, a new clinic has been set up at Preah Kossamak Hospital, where patients are tested and will receive the 12-week treatment.

“We see in many hospitals . . . that a lot of people die from hepatitis C,” said Dr Chhit Dimanche, of Preah Kossamak. “We will reduce the mortality rate.”

There is a lack of data on the exact rate of incidence for the blood-borne virus and its mortality rate in the Kingdom, so the new program will also “provide important epidemiological and clinical information about [hepatitis C] and the genotypes circulating in Cambodia”, said Dr Laurent Ferradini with WHO Cambodia, which is also working with the ministry on the disease.

After receiving ineffective treatment in the past, patient Chi Pirum, 31, yesterday said she had renewed hope of beating the illness thanks to the free treatment. “I’m so happy,” she said through a translator, adding that she had spent a lot of money on treatment before.

In 2013, hepatitis was blamed for 1.46 million deaths worldwide, according to the WHO.

A previous version of this article misspelled the name of Dr Chhit Dimanche.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Third Makro outlet planned for capital’s Chroy Changvar

    Makro (Cambodia) Co Ltd is set to invest $12.7 million in its third Cambodian outlet, this time in northeast Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district, an area dotted with high-end residential developments, as shopping behaviours continue to evolve in tandem with economic growth. The Cambodian Investment