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

  • Hundreds of children in hospital with dengue

    A serious dengue fever epidemic is affecting Cambodia, with nearly 600 children hospitalised in the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals on Monday alone, a statement posted on the Kantha Bopha Foundation’s official Facebook page said on Wednesday. Because Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals provide

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials

  • Using tech innovation to tackle Cambodia’s rampant road deaths

    Cutting corners, rampant phone use, speeding and driving through red lights – these are just some of the reasons why driving in Phnom Penh can often feel like a city-wide game of dodgems. The high death toll on the nation’s roads – combined with several high-profile