From 2018 through 2021, Cambodia has not recorded any deaths from malaria and the number of malaria cases has continued to decline, according to Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng.

Speaking at an annual meeting to review the work results of 2021 and 2022’s direction of the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control (CNM) in Siem Reap province on February 22, Bun Heng urged officials across the country to continue to take the final steps towards eradication of Plasmodium falciparum malaria by 2023.

He urged health officials to focus on strengthening the implementation of the plans for the elimination of P falciparum by 2023, saying that although the number of patients with P falciparum was on the decline, they could recur if officials fail to keep up their efforts now.

“The active participation of these relevant officials is the most necessary element for achieving the goals of the National Strategic Plan for Elimination of Malaria [2011-2025],” he said.

Bun Heng advised CNM officials to constantly monitor the disease situation and have emergency response measures to detect positive cases, treat and identify nests, and eliminate pathogens.

“We have to make sure we cover our target populations in and out of malaria-prone areas, not just rural residents but also migrants, campers and tourists who are visiting the forests and mountains and so on,” he said.

“From now on, I encourage and invite the Ministry of Tourism to find ways to help support the [anti-Malaria] activities programme as a whole.”

Bun Heng added that it was necessary that they work to increase the use of mosquito nets among migrant workers, especially through mobile malaria treatment volunteers, and to strengthen and expand the scope of malaria treatment.

According to the CNM report, in 2021 there were 4,279 cases of malaria, a decrease of 54 per cent compared to 2020.

Of the 4,279 cases, 3,950 were non-P falciparum. The remaining 320 cases were P falciparum, a sharp decrease of 66 per cent compared to 2020 and making the incidence rate of P falciparum less than one per 100 people in affected districts.

“There have been zero malaria deaths since 2018, so we’ve achieved that goal three years ahead of our 2020 target despite malaria cases being reported regularly throughout 2021, with a high number of cases of the disease between June and August in 55 districts of 21 provinces,” the report added.