Sunday, September 6, 2009

Government Takes Measurement Against Mexican Flu

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

To prevent the spread of the A/H1N1 influenza virus, more commonly known as the Mexican flu, Cambodian officials have announced to install thermal scanners at international entry points to Cambodia. On September 1 the new scanner was put to use at the airport of Phnom Penh. The Royal Government of Cambodia plans to install more thermal scanners at all important international checkpoints along Cambodian borders with Vietnam, Thailand and Laos.

In response to the request of the Royal Government of Cambodia, the Singapore Technologies Telemedia (ST Telemedia), an Information-communications company, has donated the Infrared Fever Screening System (IFss). The IFss, which cost approximately US$75,000, uses a cutting edge electro-optics technology for rapid real-time mass screening. To equip the Cambodian officials to operate the system, ST Telemedia has arranged for two engineers from the equipment manufacturer to fly from Singapore to Phnom Penh to provide on-site training.
The IFss will provide vital support to the Cambodian Government’s ongoing actions to contain the spread of the Influenza A/H1N1 in Cambodia.

The donation was made possible by the Singapore Embassy in Cambodia. Tan Yee Woan, Singaporean Ambassador to Cambodia stated that a combined global effort is needed to combat challenges as pandemics. She stressed that it the responsibility of the entire international community to fight the spread of the Mexican flu, all governments should join together. “As we tap into the benefits that globalization brings, the global community must also learn to deal with the challenges that it poses.”

The donation reflects the solidarity among countries in the region to contain the spread of the A/H1N1 virus and to prevent the pandemic as the measures currently undertaken by all countries around the world, said Dr. Mam Bunheng. The Minister continued to say that this valuable donation also inspires senior health officials and Ministry of Health staff of all levels to help tighten the precautionary measures in addition to the existing measures being in forces such as dissemination of warning, individual hygiene when exposed to the public. “We hope that with our preparation, continues vigilance and new technologies as the thermal scanners, we will be able to prevent an epidemic of the virus in Cambodia.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), all continents now are affected by the H1N1 pandemic. Cambodia is relatively unaffected by the disease, there are only 31 diagnosed cases in the whole of Cambodia, and there have been no fatalities. “Fortunately, the current spread of H1N1 in Cambodia is not a cause for serious concern,” said Singaporean Ambassador Tan Yee Woan. This is why the main method of preventing further spread is aimed at keeping the disease outside the country.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Bunheng announces a further installation of three other thermal scanners at Poi Pet International Checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province, Cham Yeam International Checkpoint in Koh Kong province, and Bavit International Checkpoint in Svay Rieng province next to the Vietnam’s border in the near future. He added that the government has also deployed a total of 1,200 medical officers and staffs, specifically trained to deal with the disease, across the nation.

In addition to using these state of the art technologies to ban the disease from Cambodia, The Royal Government of Cambodia has asked US$2 million in grant aid from the World Bank (WB) to prevent and deal with the possibly appearance of influenza A/H1N1 in Cambodia. This was announced by Sok Touch, Director of the Communicable Disease Control Department in the Ministry of Health.

The Director Sok Touch said that the financial request is made to allow the government to pay for the vaccines, medicines, medical supplies, equipments to preventing and combat the spread of A/H1N1 virus in Cambodia. “I would like to confirm that my Ministry is seeking financial support from the World Bank in order to stop the spread of this disease. I hope that with the assistance we will be able to put a stop to the spread of the disease,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a telephone interview on September 4.

To prevent the spread of influenza A/H1N1 in Cambodia, the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the National Committee for Disaster Management, the World Health Organization, and other related ministries and UN agencies have been taking a large amount of measurements, he said, adding that the Ministry of Health prepared 157, 500 doses of medicines, along with other medical supplies and equipments, and distributed this material to all the public hospitals and health centers throughout the country.

The Director continued to say that the World Health Organization has also donated a total of 154, 000 doses of medicines to the Ministry of Health in preparing to prevent the spread of A/H1N1 influenza in Cambodia. According to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) report, so far in a 180 countries there have been confirmed cases of influenza A/H1N1m worldwide the death toll has amounted to 1,799.



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