Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Treatments Vary in The War on Malaria



Treatments Vary in The War on Malaria

Treatments Vary in The War on Malaria

Malaria is no stranger to Cambodians, many of whom repeatedly contracted the disease

during the Khmer Rouge regime or while traveling to refugee camps on the Thai-Cambodian

border.

While most Cambodians use western medicine to treat malaria, people living in the

more remote areas of the country may use herbal remedies because they lack money

to purchase medicines and easy access to medical clinics.

Pailin, Koh Kong, Preah Vihear, Ratanakiri and Kratie are the high risk areas for

malaria in Cambodia, according to the National Malaria Center, a branch of the State

of Cambodia Ministry of Health.

In 1991, 115,701 people contracted malaria in Cambodia, according to the National

Malaria Center, a branch of the State of Cambodia Ministry of Health.

There were 1,161 recorded malaria deaths in Cambodia in 1991, although the Center

says the actual number of deaths-taking into account unreported cases-could be as

high as 10,000.

"Using the wrong medication bought in pharmacies [without a prescription], or

not following instructions for medication, is increasing the occurrence of drug-resistant

malaria, especially in the western part of the country," said Dr. Itho Vuthi

of the National Malaria Center.

Because of the disease's resistance to many of the anti-malarial drugs on the market,

malaria experts are currently researching new drugs derived from traditional remedies,

such as Chinese herbal medicines.

For many Cambodians, traditional therapies were the only option if they came down

with the disease during the Khmer Rouge regime.

Sok Toun got malaria during that time in Kompong Cham province but was able to obtain

medication.

"We didn't have blood examinations or good medicine, but cloroquine and aspirin

worked well for my illness," he said.

Chandy, a businessman in Phnom Penh who came down with malaria after returning from

the Thai border, said, "I'm still alive because of traditional medicine."

"First I tried the western medicine, but it didn't do any good, and my body

was becoming exhausted," he said. A relative told him to boil up a brew consisting

of wild bamboo, domestic bamboo, heart of corn that had been preserved for one year,

and leaves from several different trees.

"After I drank several cups, I felt better than when I'd taken the medicine

before," he said. "I got well after finishing two pots of the brew."

Thoing Li came down with chills, headache, and fever six months after starting a

new job as a wood cutter in Kompong Speu province. "I never thought I'd get

malaria because I used the mosquito net properly," he said.

Suspecting he had the disease anyway, his neighbors took him to a hospital in Phnom

Penh, where he was successfully treated with prophylactic drugs.

One westerner who has worked in Cambodia for several years has had 11 bouts of malaria,

including two cases of the potentially lethal Falciparum strain, contracted while

working in northern Cambodia near the Thai border.

"I had a cerebral seizure when the malaria went to my brain-I almost died,"

he said. "For months afterwards I couldn't remember my name or even the names

of my good friends. I'd forget what I was doing from moment to moment."

That particular strain of malaria was drug resistant, so he tried both western and

Chinese herbal medicines. But during a recent relapse of the non-deadly Vivax strain

three weeks ago, he wasted no time in getting on a three-week regimen of cloroquine.

"When I go to the jungle now I start taking doxycycline beforehand," he

said. "It also helps to wear long sleeved shirts and put lemon grass on your

hammock to fend off the mosquitos."

MOST VIEWED

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Howard Johnson opens in Sihanoukville

    New York Stock Exchange- (NYSE) listed hotel franchiser Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Inc (WH) has opened its first hotel in the Kingdom – the Howard Johnson Plaza by Wyndham Blue Bay Sihanoukville, WH said in a February 18 press release. WH said the new 36-storey property in Sihanoukville’