Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Report shows more TB research needed



Report shows more TB research needed

Patients sit on beds at the National Centre for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district in 2013.
Patients sit on beds at the National Centre for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district in 2013. Heng Chivoan

Report shows more TB research needed

A recently published report has found that despite years of high incidence rates of tuberculosis in the Kingdom, research priorities for halting the deadly disease are still being neglected.

The report, published last week in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s journal Health and Policy Planning, says that with funding for TB research decreasing, and the disease burden persisting, the need for increased investment in research is clear. But justification for such investment is questionable when countries, like Cambodia, fail to conduct meaningful research resulting in health care improvements.

In 2015, there were a total of 35,638 cases of TB in Cambodia. However, the study found that high-priority aspects of the disease – such as TB-HIV co-infections, childhood TB and multidrug resistant TB – were not being adequately researched. Coordination among funding organisations, policymakers and researchers is critical, it says.

More than 70 percent of the research in Cambodia was not in line with policymakers’ priorities, according to the study. “Without better coordination, I could see a major problem. As funding is getting more and more restricted with Cambodia transitioning to a lower-middle income country, priority research areas are getting neglected,” said one of the authors, Mishal S Khan, an assistant professor of health policy and systems research at the London School.

“At this time, it is more important than ever to make sure that every amount spent on research or TB control is as effective as possible.”

One way for Cambodia to address this issue could be for policymakers, such as the WHO, NGOs and the government, to establish a platform where they discuss and agree on research priorities, Khan added.

Those research priorities could then be laid out in a public document to guide local and international researchers conducting research in the future.

“It would help to ensure that funding devoted to research in Cambodia is relevant and useful to the country,” he said.

Dr Mao Tan Eang, director of the National Centre for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control, declined to comment yesterday.

Dr Katsunori Osuga, a TB expert with WHO Cambodia, would only say through a spokeswoman that there are two technical working groups meeting regularly with departments, institutions and partners to not only discuss and plan technical issues, but also research, he explained.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting