The number of deaths from malaria in the first half of the year dropped by more than two thirds compared to the same period in 2009, according to National Malaria Center data.
“This year, cases and deaths have decreased due to our village workers, secondly, high coverage of bed nets, and thirdly, we are not out of stock of medicine…. The decrease is very, very good,” National Malaria Center director Dr Duong Socheat said.
From January to June this year there were 21,562 cases of malaria and 38 deaths, down from 33,547 cases and 135 deaths in during the first six months of 2009, said Tol Bunkea, chief epidemiologist at the National Malaria Center.
The most affected areas are Kratie, Siem Reap, Oddar Meanchey, Pursat and Ratanakkiri provinces, he added.
“There is less because this year there has been little rain and a program to fight malaria along the Thai-Cambodia border,” Mr Bunkea said, noting that distribution of bed nets and education have been scaled up.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease, and rainfall can create pools of standing water where the insects can breed.
Dr Steven Bjorge, malaria team leader at the World Health Organization, said that the decrease reflects efforts by community-based health workers to provide rapid diagnosis and treatment as well as increased bed net usage.
“This year malaria is not coming back with the rains,” Dr Bjorge said, adding that bed nets are preventing the transmission between humans and mosquitoes.
Bed net coverage is almost one hundred percent in the area where drug resistance emerged along the Thai-Cambodia border in 2007, which is now the epicenter of efforts by the national center, WHO and partner organizations to eliminate malaria, he said.
Distribution of nets in malaria-affected provinces to the east will be scaled up when a $91 million donation from Global Fund arrives in the next couple of months, he said.