kanh chak village, Ratanakkiri province – Hilltribe people understand that if they use mosquito nets they won’t get sick.
A recent checkup at a Jarai village in Ratanakkiri’s Bakeo district turned up only four malaria cases out of the 156 people examined, said Dr Yeang Chheang of the National Malaria Center.
There could be more cases of malaria in the village, though, because word of the medical mission to the isolated forest village didn’t reach many people in time for them to be present when staff from the National Malaria Center, the World Health Organization and the Malaria Consortium arrived.
It was the start of the harvest season, villagers explained, so many were still working in the rice fields and were spending their nights in the “farm houses” as opposed to the long houses where several generations of families dwell in the community.
After the examinations, villagers brought out their nets for reimpregnation with insecticide, and new nets were distributed to those who need them.
On this recent trip, Yeang Chheang said, 157 nets were reimpregnated and 81 new nets were handed out. Some took the new nets to keep in the “farm houses” for when they spend the night in the fields, Yeang Chheang said.
In a question-and-answer session, villagers said they noticed that fewer people got the fevers associated with malaria after the mosquito nets started being used.
But some still don’t associate the mosquito bite with malaria. One woman said she thinks the fever comes from being out in the sun too long.