USAID’s CAP-Malaria Strengthens Capacity to Eliminate Malaria in Sampov Loun Operational District, Cambodia

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The Mekong region has made considerable progress in reducing the burden of malaria. Between 1990 and 2012, annual malaria deaths dropped by 95% and the number of confirmed cases declined by 60%. However, progress has been uneven. Viet Nam, Thailand, and Yunnan Province in China have made the most progress in reducing the burden of malaria. While malaria control in Cambodia and Lao PDR has improved, malaria incidence continues to be high.

 

Malaria control in the region is challenged by high internal and cross-border migration due to economic opportunities. Mobile and migrant workers often lack access to health services available to the general population as many live and work in remote areas with little health infrastructure, while others are discouraged from seeking medical attention due to lack of legal status or language barriers. When they return to their home communities where malaria is less common, they can inadvertently become a reservoir for disease transmission. Adding urgency is the emergence of artemisinin-resistant malaria (ARM) which could undermine malaria control efforts.

 

Cambodia has made considerable progress in reducing the burden of malaria. Coordinated by the Cambodia National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), malaria control efforts have markedly reduced malaria morbidity and mortality in recent years. However, Western Cambodia, bordering with Thailand, continues to be a hotspot where malaria parasites have demonstrated reduced efficacy of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT). Several factors contribute to increasing ARM. Massive development projects and agri-businesses have resulted in large movements of populations from non-endemic to endemic areas in search of employment opportunities and weak infrastructure and limited resources have created large gaps in malaria services.

 

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USAID’s Control and Prevention of Malaria (CAP-Malaria) project is assisting the NMCP in the implementation of malaria elimination activities in the current target operational district (OD), Sampov Loun. CAP-Malaria works with key malaria and non-malaria stakeholders to further improve the quality of malaria services in the country. CAP-Malaria, in close collaboration with the NMCP and stakeholders, initiated a model of malaria pre-elimination in Sampov Loun district. Communityhealth facility malaria surveillance, early diagnosis and prompt treatment and capacity building of service providers are essential to the elimination of malaria. 

 

CAP-Malaria strengthens networks of village malaria workers (VMWs) and mobile malaria workers (MMWs), and links them with the public health system for improved service provision and monitoring of cases. VMWs/MMWs can effectively reach communities in remote areas, particularly women, children, and mobile and migrant workers, with bed nets and malaria prevention education and can provide early diagnosis and prompt treatment.

 

In order to better monitor activities, provide implementation at the community level and assure quality services, CAP-Malaria procured and supplied ten motorbikes and helmets to health center staff to facilitate the supervision of community volunteers and to allow for the implementation of other malaria outreach activities needed in the remote villages. An official Ceremony to hand over the motorbikes was organized on April 7, 2015 in Sampov Loun OD with the Deputy Director of the provincial health department (PHD), Dr. Ouk Vithia, district governor, Ms. Boeun Savoeun, health operational district director, Mr. Tep Phala along with his team and partners. The provision of these motorbikes will allow health center staff to intensify their supervision of VMWs/MMWs as part of routine monthly monitoring and supervision, ensuring volunteers are providing timely, effective and quality services for hard to reach highrisk beneficiaries including mobile and migrant populations. Improved access to these high-risk populations will improve the capacity of health center staff to be able to control and, ultimately, eliminate ACT resistant malaria parasites.

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