Provincial health care officials and governors traveled to Phnom Penh Wednesday to join Ministry of Health and World Health Organization officials at the Annual Tuberculosis Conference and Workshop to assess the country’s approach to fighting tuberculosis.
“The National TB program has done remarkably well since it started in the 1980s,” WHO TB consultant Dr Pratap Jayavanth said. “The detection and cure rates have gone beyond global expectations.”
A 2002 National TB Prevalence Survey of 30,000 people found that 89 percent of 14,277 TB patients were cured of the disease while only 4 percent had died. The survey determined that about 270 of 100,000 Cambodians tested positive for TB.
Part of the country’s success can be attributed to the government’s expanding Directly Observed Treatment with Short-course Chemotherapy [DOTS] program, he said. Since 1999, the number of clinics offering DOTS free of charge has soared from nine to nearly 492.
The workshop served as a forum to prepare for a wide scale assessment of the National TB Program, to be directed by WHO and Health Ministry officials within the next several months. The study will evaluate the effectiveness of the DOTS programs and estimate the burden of the disease, Jayavanth said.
The conference concludes today, just three days before World TB Day, which the Municipal Health Department will celebrate by holding a march of health workers and students, said Municipal TB supervisor Dr Mom Ky.