Cambodia addresses increase of reported Malaria cases

The Minister of Health and WHO representative to Cambodia visiting the exhibition of the National Malaria Conference, accompanied by Director General for Health and Deputy Director of CNM.

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, 9 March 2018 – The National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control (CNM) has confirmed an increase of malaria cases which started mid 2017, at the National Malaria Conference on 22 February.

Joining the efforts of countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion, Cambodia has made significant progress in reducing its total number of malaria cases by 42%, between 2012 and 2016. Furthermore, there has been an impressive decrease of deaths due to malaria, from 46 in 2012 to 1 death in 2017.

Since the middle of last year, reported number of cases started to show an increase largely in 10 districts from 8 provinces in the north-east region of the country. The CNM has attributed this increase to a series of possible reasons, including:

  • Interruption of Village Malaria Workers program for two years
  • Low use of mosquito nets, distributed in 2015
  • Increased movement to and from forest areas
  • Abnormal early and heavy rainfalls in 2017
Cambodia confirmed malaria cases from health centers (HC)

In response to the increase number of malaria cases, more than 20,000 cases compared to 2016, an emergency response was organized by CNM with the support of WHO and other partners through six combined interventions implemented in 8 most affected provinces:

  • Emergency Supply of rapid diagnostic test and treatment for 6 months
  • Monthly support of 2 CNM teams to provincial and district health levels
  • Distribution of 241,669 mosquito nets
  • Emergency monthly meeting with Village Malaria Workers
  • Mass screening and treatment carried out in 2 most affected villages
  • Collection of blood spots for resistance marker/genotyping

It is important to notice that the results from therapeutic efficacy studies (TES) last year shows full efficacy of the first line treatment artesunate-mefloquine, which means that the increase of reported malaria cases is probably not linked to drug resistance. In addition WHO has supported the collection of filter papers in the affected area, which will allow to confirm this assumption and to better understand the resistance background of these parasites.

The Ministry of Health is strongly committed to ensure full implementation of the emergency response plan and to reach elimination goal with the other fives countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion.

“With all the partners, we must continue to work together and even accelerate our efforts. WHO continues to support the Ministry of Health in his efforts towards this outbreak response and the implementation of the National Malarial Elimination Plan by 2025,” said Dr Liu Yunguo, WHO representative in Cambodia.