Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continues to provide treatment for malaria and tuberculosis (TB), two of the major health concerns in Cambodia.
Artemisinin-based medicines are currently the most effective antimalarial treatment and, in conjunction with other measures such as mosquito nets, have reduced the suffering and death caused by malaria. However, areas of artemisinin drug resistance have been identified, potentially creating a parasite pool that is more difficult to treat and eliminate. The areas that are most at risk of developing resistance are located in underdeveloped and remote border regions, where population movement and a lack of healthcare make this disease difficult to control. In September and October, MSF undertook a baseline survey of people with drug-resistant malaria in 23 villages in Chey Saen district, Preah Vihear province. In 2015, a project with a specific treatment protocol aiming to eliminate this strain of the disease will be developed. Active case detection was started in 2014, and health promotion teams were engaged to increase awareness in their communities.
The prevalence of TB in Cambodia remains among the highest in the world. An MSF programme of comprehensive TB care continued in Kampong Cham, the most populated province. The priority is early and active detection and testing of people at high risk of contracting the disease. In March, MSF completed the first phase of active case finding in Tboung Khmum district. All people older than 55 – a high-risk group – were screened, and 138 out of a total of 4,903 were found to have TB. Another round of active case finding began in October.
No. staff in 2014: 155 | Expenditure: €2.3 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1979 | msf.org/cambodia
Thea – 76 years old – was identified through case-finding activities in Kien Romiet village and admitted for treatment
MSF came to see the village chief, who asked the people to go to see the MSF team about the screening. An MSF minivan came and took those who wanted to be screened to the hospital. When I arrived at the hospital the doctor saw me and after the process told me I had TB … I did not know I had TB, but MSF knew it.