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USAID Mission Director for Cambodia Visits Siem Reap to Learn about CAP-Malaria
Mr. Flynn Fuller, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director to Cambodia, visited two sites in Siem Reap Province, Western Cambodia, in December to learn more about the community-based malaria control activities of the USAID Control and Prevention of Malaria project (CAP-Malaria), managed by URC. Western Cambodia, bordering with Thailand, is a hotspot for malaria parasites that are resistant to artemisinin combination therapy (ACT), standard treatment for malaria. CAP-Malaria aims to contain the spread of multi-drug resistant malaria in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, specifically Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand.
At the Svayleu Health Center, Mr. Fuller met with the Health Center Chief who briefed the director on the area's health needs. Common health problems include respiratory tract infections, TB, gastro-intestinal tract infections, and communicable diseases. Health center services are limited by old infrastructure, limited human resources, and a lack of a reliable water source.
Health center staff see malaria less often. During the past several years, the number of malaria cases has fallen dramatically: from 1611 in 2009 to 204 in 2012. In addition to environmental and climate changes, the reduction has been influenced by ongoing support from USAID, which has supported malaria control in the region since 2007. Like URC's previous initiative to reduce malaria in the area, the Malaria Control in Cambodia project, CAP-Malaria focuses on strengthening malaria control at the community level. The project distributes long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), taking care to include hard-to-reach mobile and migrant populations, which are often at greater risk of contracting and spreading malaria. A network of village malaria workers (VMWs) provides malaria education as well as diagnosis of malaria through rapid diagnostic tests, treatment of simple malaria, and referral of complicated cases to health centers.
In nearby Sakada village, Mr. Fuller attended a health education session led by VMW Mr. Ing Thay. Community participants at the session learned how mosquitoes transmit malaria, how malaria can be prevented, when and where to seek treatment, and how completing the treatment course reduces the emergence and spread of drug-resistant malaria. After the session, Mr. Ing Thay showed Mr. Flynn the educational materials, patient registration book, and diagnosis and treatment kits provided by CAP-Malaria. The latter called visitors' attention to the sign indicating service delivery hours and that screening and treatment of malaria is free.