Malaria

WHO/L. Tuseo

Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites which are spread to people through the bites of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. There are five parasite species that cause malaria in humans, with P. falciparum and P. vivax the most common. According WHO estimates, there were 212 million new cases of malaria and 429 000 malaria deaths worldwide in 2015. Vector control is the main way to prevent and reduce malaria transmission. Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria cures the disease, prevents deaths and contributes to reducing malaria transmission. The best available treatment, particularly for P. falciparum malaria, is artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT).

Malaria in Cambodia

Cambodia has significantly reduced malaria morbidity and mortality over the past decade. The number of reported malaria cases dropped from 102 628 cases in 2005 to 43 726 cases in 2016. The surveillance system recorded only a single malaria death in 2016 compared to 46 in 2012.

Cambodia aims to eliminate malaria and WHO is providing technical support to the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control to develop a strategy for this goal. The Malaria Elimination Action Framework 2016–2020, including a monitoring and evaluation plan, are the guiding documents for interventions in Cambodia to reach the country’s elimination objectives over the next five years. The Framework aligns with the WHO technical strategies highlighted in the Strategy for malaria elimination in the Greater Mekong Subregion 2015–2030 to contribute to the overall interruption of P. falciparum transmission in areas of multidrug resistance, including ACT resistance.

The Malaria Elimination Action Framework 2016–2020 lays out the approach, implementation strategies, and roles and responsibilities of the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders involved in the national malaria response.

The main challenge remains the artemisinin resistance of P. falciparum, identified for the first time in Cambodia in 2006. Since then, increasing rates of treatment failure with several ACT have been observed. Additionally, since 2010, frequent treatment failure of dihydro artemisinin-piperaquine has expanded and was documented in 12 provinces in 2015. To address this, WHO advised the reintroduction of artesunate-mefloquine as a first-line treatment in 2016, which has proven successful. WHO provides technical support for monitoring the efficacy of malaria treatment at six sentinel sites in Cambodia. The artemisinin resistance challenge is fully addressed with clear action steps in the Malaria Elimination Action Framework 2016–2020.

Contact details

World Health Organization Representative Office Cambodia
1st Floor, No. 61-64,
Preah Norodom Blvd, Corner Street 306,
Sangkat Boeung Keng Kang I,
Khan Chamkamorn, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Telephone: (855) 23 216610
Facsimile: (855) 23 216211
E-mail: wpkhmwr@who.int