Health Ministry officials said the number of malaria cases in 2017 increased nearly 100 percent if compared to the previous year during a meeting to set a strategy to reduce the rate in 2018.
The National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control issued an official report on Thursday saying there were 45,991 malaria cases and one death in all of 2017.
The report added that the number of malaria cases increased 95 percent if compared to 2016, which saw 23,627 cases and one death.
Huy Rekol, director of the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, said at the centre’s annual meeting in Siem Reap province on Thursday that the rise of malaria cases was due to the village volunteer service being suspended.
The service, based at the community level, helped educate villagers and provided treatment for malaria.
Dr Rekol listen a number of reasons for the spike in cases.
“The effectiveness of mosquito nets runs out after three years of use and climate change, the mobility of people and resettlement in new development areas where the challenge of malaria is high,” he said.
Health Minister Mam Bun Heng said at the meeting that only one person died from malaria last year, but the number of people getting sick spiked.
He advised provincial health directors to provide tests and medicine immediately to patients showing symptoms of malaria.
“When we do this, we will quickly reduce the number of sick people,” he said.
For 2018, the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control hopes to reduce the rate of malaria incidence to one in 1,000 people in six provinces including Battambang, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Pailin and Kampong Speu, added Dr Rekol.
“We need to cooperate and promote the community service such as village volunteers to treat malaria,” he said. “We are also ready to expand and distribute more than 1.6 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets to those vulnerable.”