Health Minister Mam Bunheng on Friday appealed to tuberculosis patients to seek treatment at state hospitals instead of private ones to reduce costs.
Presenting the annual report on the tuberculosis situation in the Kingdom, Mr Bunheng urged clinics and private hospitals to refer patients to state hospitals.
He said tuberculosis is not a genetic disease, but a highly-infectious one requiring treatment for as long as six months.
Mr Bunheng noted that when patients go to a private hospital they have to spend a lot of money and often avoid seeking follow-up treatment.
“People are in the habit of seeking quick cures so they go to private clinics and stop seeking further treatment when they feel a bit better,” he said. “TB cannot be cured quickly and patients must have further treatment.”
“So, I appeal to private clinics and hospitals to refer them to state health centres or hospitals where treatment is free,” Mr Bunheng added.
He also outlined steps that should being taken by ministry officials to reduce tuberculosis cases in the Kingdom by 2030.
Mr Bunheng said the officials must pay attention to emerging strains of TB which are highlighted by national and international experts.
He said they must also strengthen implementation of the national policy of providing free treatment to encourage TB patients to seek quality treatment at state clinics and hospitals.
Mr Bunheng added that efforts should also be made to strengthen prevention of tuberculosis among children and to screen children living close to people who are infected.
He added that officials should also screen people in high risk groups such as those suffering from diabetes, the elderly and prisoners.
Mao Tan Eang, director of the National Centre for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control, said at the event that Cambodia has seen remarkable success in the fight against tuberculosis and has received international acclaim and support.
“We have achieved more than 90 percent success in treating 28,757 cases of tuberculosis last year,” he said. “The government provides 100 percent free distribution of the DOTS medicine at 1,325 TB surveillance and treatment facilities and 644 health centres.”
Mr Tan Eang noted that in order to be consistent with the sustainable development goals for 2030, Cambodia has to reduce the number of new incidences.
He said that from 2016 until 2030, the centre is tasked with reducing the incidence rate of TB by at least 65 percent and the death rate by 76 percent. According to a CENAT report, the centre detected more than 34,000 cases of TB in 2017.