By NewsDesk @bactiman63
The Cambodian government this month made a commitment to eliminating Plasmodium falciparum (the deadliest strain of malaria and drug resistant) within the next few months, and to maintaining zero cases by 2023, through the launch of an innovative and targeted approach for the ‘last mile’ of malaria elimination in the country.
“According to the targets set out in the Malaria Elimination Action Framework, Cambodia is on the brink of success,” said H.E. Professor Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health. “We are now at the stage of reaching P. falciparum elimination by 2023, not only in Kampong Speu but also in all other remaining provinces.”
“I am very impressed by the tremendous efforts made at the local, provincial and national levels for malaria elimination. We appreciate the partners’ collective action for this. Cambodia, being very close to the goal, can be the first country in the region to eliminate P. falciparum malaria, serving as a champion in the Greater Mekong Subregion”, said Dr Li Ailan, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Cambodia.
The kickoff for the ‘last mile’ of malaria elimination was held in Kampong Speu where stakeholders agreed to partner on three interventions to eliminate P. falciparum in malaria hotspots in five provinces:
- Distribution of mosquito nets;
- Weekly house-to-house fever screening to ensure every person with a fever is tested for malaria and receives treatment if positive; and
- Targeted drug administration and Intermittent Preventive Treatment for travellers who visit malaria-risk areas.
Cambodia has continued its intensive response to malaria elimination during the COVID-19 pandemic and recently reached a historically low malaria incidence level. Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, the country has minimized disruptions, prioritized preparedness and maintained solid progress in its fight against malaria. After reporting 3528 P. falciparum and mixed malaria cases in September 2017, only 72 P. falciparum and mixed cases were reported in approximately 60 villages in September 2020. This achievement is even more notable given that Cambodia is the epicentre of malaria multidrug resistance in the region.