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US Ambassador to Cambodia Visits CAP-Malaria Activities
On January 15, 2015, the US Ambassador to Cambodia, William E. Todd, accompanied by staff from the USAID mission, visited Control and Prevention of Malaria Project (CAP-Malaria) activities in Anlong Veng and Trapaing Prasat Districts in Oddar Meanchey Province, located along the border with Thailand. The trip gave the Ambassador a chance to engage people living in malaria-endemic areas and listen to their concerns to see how the US government could better support malaria prevention and response efforts.
CAP-Malaria, which receives support from the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) and is implemented by University Research Co., LLC (URC), has been assisting the National Malaria Control Programs (NMCP) in Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma to contain and delay the spread of multi-drug resistant Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) malaria. Targeted activities contribute to the development and scale-up of cost-effective vector-control interventions to prevent malaria transmission; improve the quality and effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment at the community and health-facility levels; reduce NMCP and local institutions' management bottlenecks for implementation and monitoring of malaria control activities; and support the establishment and maintenance of strategic information for malaria control.
In close collaboration with the Cambodian NMCP, CAP-Malaria has been executing activities in 12 Operational Districts (ODs) in nine provinces located along the Cambodia-Thailand, Cambodia-Lao People's Democratic Republic, and Vietnam borders. To contribute to the reduction of malaria morbidity and mortality and move towards malaria pre-elimination/elimination, CAP-Malaria works closely with counterparts and partners, providing comprehensive malaria services to its target populations. These services include malaria prevention and health education; early diagnosis and prompt treatment at the health facility- and community-level; capacity building and program management; and strategic information for making decisions and guiding effective interventions and monitoring.
In Anlong Veng, Ambassador Todd and his team were welcomed by the Director and Deputy Director of the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology, and Malaria Control, the People Health Development Association's Director, and the CAP-Malaria and AFRIM teams. Dr. Kheang Soy Ty, CAP-Malaria's Regional Director, invited the Ambassador to visit the Anlong Veng Hospital's laboratory, where the project has supported capacity development on microscopy diagnosis for two laboratory technicians and provided microscopes, lab reagents, and other materials to fill key gaps in the lab's capabilities. CAP-Malaria supports strengthening lab quality assurance, which includes routine supervision for health centers from provincial lab teams, collection and cross-checking of slides, provision of feedback and quarterly dissemination of QA results.
As part of Malaria Week (a yearly event that takes place before the rainy season, when the incidence of malaria rises), the Ambassador was invited to observe malaria blood-screening activities, which use rapid diagnostic tests, being performed by village malaria workers trained by CAP-Malaria. He was welcomed to Tomnop Cheung Village in Trapaing Prasat District by Dr. Soy Ty and local authorities, including the commune chief and village chief, along with nearly 400 villagers. The Ambassador was impressed by the number of people who volunteered to receive a blood test and, as a result, the number of suspected malaria patients who were tested. Of the 98 cases tested, 19 were positive, with the majority (17 cases) infected with Pf.
The Ambassador gave a speech to over 400 at-risk villagers who participated in Malaria Week activities and emphasized that his "Mission is to improve the lives of Cambodians." At the end of his visit, the Ambassador distributed long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs) to pregnant women, mobile/migrant populations, and local residents living in Tomnop Cheung village and encouraged the use of these nets. Five hundred nets were distributed along with over 500 sheets of malaria posters promoting proper use of LLINs and early malaria treatment.