Villagers Working in Malaria at High Risk, Receive Nets

chhay tbong village, Koh Kong province – Working in the forest for a living can be hazardous to the health of rural Cambodians.

But, a recent donation of 1,384 mosquito nets, provided in part by The Cambodia Daily Mos­quito Net Campaign, will help keep families living here in Kompong Seila district safe from malaria.

Hundreds were present Sun­day for the distribution of nets by the National Malaria Center, the World Health Organi­zation and The Daily. Villagers in the district received 1,034 nets.

Another 350 nets were taken Saturday by boat to Dang Peng village on the Kompong Som River in Sre Ambel district.

While there is little malaria threat in these villages populated mostly by pineapple-growing farmers, there is malaria in the forest, where the villagers frequently go to live and work for weeks at a time to supplement their farming income by cutting wood and making charcoal, said Dr Doung Socheat, vice director of the National Malaria Center.

Sunday’s net distribution focused on the migratory families who were urged to take the nets with them when they moved into the heavily forested hillsides of Koh Kong province.

The insecticide-impregnated nets will protect them from the night-flying mosquitoes, which transmit the malaria parasite.

“The people are very poor. They can’t buy mosquito nets,” said Pon Lok, a farmer in Chhay Tbong village. “They thank you very, very much. All the people who live here are very, very happy.”

Funds to buy the nets were provided in part by a $858.36 donation from Hiu Otanoshimi Kai, an organization of small shop owners in Nagasaki prefecture in Japan, who wanted to help poor Cambodians, especially children.

The Cambodian children in turn wrote thank-you notes to the Nagasaki shopkeepers.

“I would like to deeply thank [the] donors,” wrote Hang Makara, a 16-year-old boy. “I would send my best regards to the children of Nagasaki.”

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