It’s somewhat ironic that the things that have traveled farthest for a newspaper company in Cambodia are not newspapers, but mosquito nets.
But that’s just what has happened on occasion for The Cambodia Daily and its year-old mosquito net campaign. Now, with more than $36,000 in donations from Daily readers and supporters, the campaign is gearing up for a second year of sending nets to the remotest corners of the country.
Thickly forested villages in Koh Kong, Kampot, Battambang and Pursat provinces have all received nets purchased with money from Cambodia Daily readers. Refugees and people displaced inside Cambodia by fighting have received nets they can use when they resettle.
Nets continue to be distributed to areas most in need. Local health centers across the country track malaria cases and report them to the Ministry of Health. The Ministry’s National Malaria Center responds by organizing missions to remote areas and delivers nets and medicine to those in need.
Money from The Cambodia Daily Mosquito Net Campaign is disbursed to purchase nets for targeted villages.
The campaign began at the end of August 1997 in response to a marked increase in malaria in Cambodia.
The Ministry of Health estimates that in 1997 more than 170,000 people contracted the mosquito-borne disease. The number of cases represents a 60 percent increase over the same period in 1996.
At least 800 people died from malaria in 1997. But because most people who get sick with malaria live far from medical clinics, health experts believe the number of Cambodians who died of malaria is actually much higher.
Mosquito nets impregnated with insecticide are the best defense against malaria for those living in malarial areas, medical experts say.
More nets are still needed, health workers say. The Cambodia Daily Mosquito Net Drive is being extended to help meet this need.