In One Preah Vihear District, Battle Against Malaria Is a Success

rovieng district, Preah Vihear province – For villagers in Ro­vieng district’s Romny commune, malaria was an all too common occurrence, but according to Meas Sam On, chief of the Preah Vihear Provincial Malaria Project, things are starting to look up.

“This year, cases of malaria are down,” he said, while speaking at a ceremony to distribute 1,244 mosquito nets provided by The Cambodia Daily Mosquito Net Campaign to Romny commune’s three villages: Phnom Dek, Ro­chek and Sre Thnong.

Dr Duong Socheat, director of the National Center for Para­si­tology, Entomology and Malaria Control, said by telephone Wednesday that as of May, there has been a drop in reported malaria cases in Preah Vihear and across Cambodia.

“Malaria is much better this year,” he said.

In the first five months of this year, Preah Vihear had 1,719 re­ported cases of malaria compared to 9,994 reported cases for all of 2006, Duong Socheat said, which still makes it the province with the fourth highest number of cases.

He attributed the drop to a recently formed “health education team” that instructs villag­ers in remote areas on malaria prevention.

“This year we have set up a health education team—2,000 people to work in the villages and communities,” he said.

Despite seeing fewer cases, Duong Socheat said the fight against malaria is far from over and more donations are still needed.

“We hope that every year malaria will be less than last year if we can have more nets and funding for the volunteer people,” he said.

Hundreds of villagers lined up outside the local school in Phnom Dek village in the hot morning sun Friday, anxiously waiting to receive the free nets.

After receiving her free net, a smiling Nheit Siyeat, 36, said her family had previously relied on ineffective homemade nets.

“This is the first time our village has ever been given nets,” she said, adding that she will no longer have to light a fire in her wooden house to smoke mosquitoes out.

Soeun Peal, a 56-year-old mother of four, said she was sure the free net would help protect her children.

“We used to sleep without mosquito nets for many years, so our children got sick very often,” she said.

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