Second Nationwide TB Survey to Be Undertaken

The National Center for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control this month is to launch the second nationwide survey of tuberculosis in the population since 2002, the center’s director Mao Tan Eang said yesterday.

The more than $1 million project will help guide future planning by giving an accurate picture of tuberculosis prevalence, Mr Tan Eang said.

“Hopefully, we can confirm the degree to which prevalence has declined in the last nine or 10 years,” he said.

Despite a gradual decline in the prevalence of TB, Cambodia is still classified as one of 22 “high-burden” countries worldwide when it comes to the disease. An estimated 693 per every 100,000 people had the disease in 2009, according to an annual report released Nov 11 by the World Health Organization.

That figure is actually based on the 2002 survey and yearly updates since then, according to Rajendra Yadav, Stop TB officer for WHO Cambodia. Surveys give the best estimates of prevalence, Mr Yadav added.

The field work for the new nationwide study is expected to begin by the end of the month and finish up by August or September next year, with between 40,000 to 50,000 people surveyed in 62 randomly selected areas, according to Mr Tan Eang. Final results should be available by the end of the next year, he added.

The survey will include a questionnaire, chest X-ray and testing of a sample taken from the respiratory tract. Some of the information collected will relate to the behavior of TB patients, such as how long they wait until they seek care and where they go.

Among the agencies supporting the survey is the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

“The second survey will be able to contribute to not only provide scientific, reliable information on TB burden in Cambodia but also [bring] rich fruits for the national TB control program by showing its downward trend in serious, infectious TB cases,” JICA said in an e-mailed statement.


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