US-Japan Health Team Arrives for Work

The US and Japan have joined forces to examine ways in which the two countries can help Cam­bodia battle four serious health threats, including AIDS, which is threatening to ravage many sectors of the country’s population.

Teams from both countries arrived in Phnom Penh over the weekend, and will be meeting with Cambodian officials and NGOs this week to discuss what they can do to help fight AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and to promote maternal and child health.

Willard J Pearson, of the Phnom Penh office of USAID, said each country sent “four or five” team members to work on the project. The teams are ex­pect­ed to come up with a list of six or seven likely projects by Thursday, he said.

The idea is for both countries to work together with their host co­untries to minimize duplicated efforts and maximize efficiency. The teams are made up of officials from the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the US Agency for International Devel­op­­ment.

While here, they will meet with officials from the Ministry of Health, international organizations and NGOs to hear what kind of efforts are needed here.

About 180,000 Cambodians are believed to be infected with HIV, and health officials are concerned that the disease is increasingly being transmitted from sex workers via husbands to wives.

In 1996, about 13,000 Cambo­dians died of tuberculosis, and health researchers found that the transmission rate for the disease was one of the highest in the world.

They said about 40,000 new cases of TB could be expected each year.

Malaria is another major cause of death among Cambodian adults.

The diseases causes an estimated 5,000 deaths per year, and health officials have been concerned for some time about the prevalence of fake medicines being sold here.

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