Monday, November 16, 2009

Dengue Fever Still Claiming Deaths in Cambodia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Dengue Fever is a growing concern for Cambodian children. That was the clear announcement made by Dr. Ngan Chantha, Deputy Director of the National Malaria Center and Director of the National Dengue Fever Center in the Ministry of Health.

Dr. Chantha stated that since April of this year until the end of October, there have been approximately 20,000 Cambodian children under the age of 15 who have been affected by Dengue Fever and a total of 34 children who have died from the disease throughout the country.

Dr. Chantha continued to say that the provinces with the highest rates of infection are Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Kandal, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampot, Kratie and Siem Reap.

Questioning why more children have been affected this year, Dr. Chantha proposed that it may have to do with climate change, lifestyle changes, or the growth of dams, roads and other construction in Cambodia.

“I have noted that the number of people affected and who have died from Dengue Fever has increased this year due to the growth of rehabilitations and constructions in Cambodia,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a telephone interview on November 5. “There has been more rain this year and most of the people have not used mosquito nets to protect themselves against the spread of Dengue Fever.”

He pointed out that according to statistics from the National Malaria Center, there were a total of 393 people killed and 38,390 people affected by Dengue Fever in 2007 and a total of 56 people killed and 7,734 people affected by Dengue Fever in 2008 for the same period.

Dr. Chantha stated that to prevent a pandemic of Dengue Fever in Cambodia, the National Malaria Center and the Ministry of Health have been working hard to improve and strengthen health care management in all health centers and referral hospitals in cities and provinces across the country.

He emphasized that since the month of April to the end of October 2009, his center distributed a total of 216 tones of Abets and other materials to people in 24 cities and provinces at no cost in order to prevent the spread of disease.

He added that his center now is preparing about 20 tones of Abets and other related materials for distribution to the people during the months of November and December in the event that the infection rate increases at the end of this year.

“I hope that we will able to reduce the infection and death of the people through good preparation in the future. Thus, I would like to appeal to all Cambodian people to be careful, join in the hard work and use abets or mosquito nets while sleeping. I also wish to give advice to all people to bring their children to hospitals if they get Dengue Fever,” he said.

Dr. Chantha went on to say that in 1995, the mortality rate of Dengue Fever in Cambodia was 15 percent but due to his ministry and center’s hard work and activities, the death rate has dropped 0.68 percent in 2008 and 0.3 percent in 2009.

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