sarmarky commune, Sihanoukville province – A one-toothed grin spoke volumes about how Riech Lang felt about getting a new mosquito net.
With no money to buy a net to ward off the malaria-carrying mosquitoes, the elderly widow’s fate may have been the same as her husband, who died of the mosquito-borne disease.
Riech Lang, who lives in Beng Raing village in Prey Nop district, said she was “very happy to get a treated net.”
The National Malaria Center distributed nets over the weekend to several villages in Sihanoukville province. Dr Duong Socheat, acting director of the Malaria Center, said 2,500 insecticide-treated nets—including 1,000 from The Cambodia Daily Mosquito Net Campaign—were handed out.
Dr Yeang Chheang of the National Malaria Center said the nets would be used at the farmhouses of the villagers, who earn their livings raising crops of rice and bananas on Phnom Chamka, a mountain range that straddles the borders of Sihanoukville and Kampot provinces. The hillsides are rife with malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
On Saturday, Malaria Center and Cambodia Daily staff were on hand to give nets to residents of two villages, Beng Raing and Ta Orng Thom. In all, 826 nets were given to the villagers who gathered at a pagoda compound at Sarmarky commune to receive their nets. On Friday, Malaria Center workers handed out 323 nets to Kompong Chen villagers, Yeang Chheang said. Several other villages in the district also would receive new nets, he said.
The nets were dipped in insecticide and handed out in plastic bags. The insecticide is crucial to the nets’ effectiveness, as it keeps out the mosquitoes even after the nets develop the small tears that happen with use over time.
Ieng Pram, a farmer in Beng Raing village, said she would take her net directly home and use it that night over her bed. She said she would not let the net hang in the direct sunlight, which would burn away the insecticide.