Prime Minister Hun Sen appealed for the continued efforts to eliminate malaria in the Kingdom despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The call was made in a statement issued yesterday ahead of the World Malaria Day on April 25.
The premier urged local authorities to allocate a budget for activities that aim to combat malaria in their locality. “Local authorities must give high priority toward the effective and swift elimination of malaria even if Cambodia is currently facing the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A report from the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control (CNM) revealed there were 31,791 malaria cases last year, 49 percent less from the 65,114 cases reported in 2018. Of these, 4,990 were caused by the plasmodium falciparum parasite, the most dangerous type of malaria. The figure marked a 72 percent decrease from about 10,000 cases cited in 2018.
According to Mr Hun Sen, there have been no deaths from malaria since 2018. “This shows we have been successful [in our fight against malaria] and indicates that the 2020 zero malaria-casualty target has been achieved sooner than anticipated.”
Despite the positive news, the prime minister said authorities must expand efforts to eliminate the disease, which remains a threat to the community.
CNM director Huy Rekol said the Kingdom has spent $140 million for malaria-related programmes since 2016 and will need the same amount from 2021 to 2025 to reach the Kingdom’s 2025 target of becoming a malaria-free nation.
“We are working tirelessly to achieve our goal of eliminating malaria by 2025. CNM has encouraged community participation by educating the people about malaria,” he said, adding CNM has distributed a total of 2,625,259 mosquito nets to villages across Cambodia.
Het Sam, 35, a resident of Kandal province, said local authorities have told her family to sleep with a mosquito net over the bed to avoid being bitten by mosquitos.
“We followed the authorities’ instructions and now sleep under a mosquito net to protect ourselves from malaria-carrying mosquitos,” she said.