Remote Villages Gauge Success of Anti-Malaria Campaign

Health workers this week will visit Ka Chok village in Ratana­k­kiri province to assess a village that had one of the highest-ever recorded malaria rates in the region two years ago.

Members of the National Ma­laria Center first visited the village, about 20 km from the Viet­nam border, in early 1996. At that time, 60 percent of the children there tested positive for the parasite that causes malaria.

Since then the village has be­come one of eight “indicator” sites used by the National Ma­laria Center. These villages are used to help gauge the effect of medical missions and mosquito net distributions.

A year after the first visit to Ka Chok, the National Malaria Cen­ter collected data showing the success of their efforts. The rate of children suffering from malaria dropped from 60 percent in 1996 to 19 percent in May 1997.

This is the third consecutive year the National Malaria Center will collect data on the village’s epidemiological situation.

Health workers said they hope this year will continue to show a decrease in the number of mala­ria cases.

The year-end statistics for 1997 from the National Malaria Center show a 40 percent increase in the number of malaria cases in all of Ratanakkiri province from the year before.

Malaria increased in 1997 in provinces all around the country. Nationwide, the National Malaria Center recorded a 60-percent in­crease.

Malaria experts at the National Malaria Center have attributed the increase to better medical equipment used to detect the mosquito-borne disease and an in­creased movement of people in and out of former Khmer Rouge areas.

Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue hemorraghic fever also have been reported to be rising in countries throughout  South­east Asia.

The Cambodia Daily Mosquito Net drive was started last summer in response to the rise in levels of malaria in Cam­bodia.

Mosquito nets covered in insecticide are the best defense against the disease, according to the National Malaria Center. With such nets, mosquitoes are unable to bite people sleeping beneath them.

Since the mosquito net campaign began, Cambodia Daily staffers have distributed nets to Cambodians in Kampot, Koh Kong, Battambang and Kom­pong Speu provinces.

This week, about 2,000 nets will be distributed to people living in malarial areas in Ratanakkiri.

Daily readers can contribute money to the mosquito net drive in one of the many collection boxes around the world.

Contributions will buy mosquito nets, which the National Mal­a­ria Center will distribute to rural families in malarial areas.

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