Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cambodian Women Receive Vaccines against Tetanus

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Ministry of Health has urged women between the ages of 15 to 45 to present themselves for tetanus inoculation.

Dr. Veng Thai, Director of the Municipal Health Department in the Ministry of Health, said the tetanus vaccination program started in 1996 and in that time over 1 million Cambodian women have received the vaccines each year.

The Director said that for this year, the MoH’s tetanus vaccines injection program has been running since early February and will end in May 2009.

Dr. Thai emphasized that most of the women who have received tetanus jabs are garment industry workers, factory workers and home-makers. He said the injection service is free of charge for all women and the campaign is conducted at all public hospitals or health centers in cities and provinces throughout the country.

“The tetanus vaccination is very important for our women as they are the mothers of the next generation,” he said during a telephone interview with The Cambodia Weekly on May 14.

Dr. Thai continued to say that a course of inoculation provides a lifetime’s protection against tetanus and other diseases. He said that every Cambodian woman should have at least five tetanus injections in her life. He also encouraged them to bring their children as it was never too early to make the first steps on the road to a tetanus-free life.

According to a report released by the Ministry of Health, the prevalence of tetanus infection is still high for the women of Cambodia. He also noted that 80 percent of tetanus cases here resulted in death.

“I appeal to all women in Cambodia to come themselves or bring their children to the state hospital or health centers in their communities. It will cost them nothing and it might save their lives,” he said.

Dr. Chutemar Ping, Director of Clinical Services with the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC), said that many Cambodian women came to his organization for medical checkups and tetanus injections every year. He said most of the patents were pregnant.

“I am happy as many women have decided to listen to good medical advice and taken the vaccines against tetanus,” he told The Cambodia Weekly. “They understand the importance of good health and are concerned to perpetuate it for the benefit of their families.”

He said that the number of women who come to get their tetanus injections with RHAC increases by about 10 percent every year.

Ray Pheap, 17, a garment worker in Phnom Penh, said that she received her first tetanus injections last month.

“I am now very happy because I don’t need to worry about tetanus for some time, now I have had the injection offered by the Ministry of Health,” she said. “I will get the booster injections next year and that should bring the course to a successful close.”

Khum Sreymom, 45, has two children and lives in Baset district in Kampong Speu province. She said that she not had time for injections this year as she has been busy on the farm. However, as she has already received three out of five injections, she says she will make time later and receive her forth jab.

“I am not worried about tetanus affection because I have been injected three times already,” she said. “However, I will not let the program lapse as I have come this far already and what price can you put on good health?” /////

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