Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Chinese to work with Asean on snake bite cure research

Chinese to work with Asean on snake bite cure research

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sieng Bunthan discusses snake bite treatments in Wuzhou city, Guanxi province, China. Niem Chheng

Chinese to work with Asean on snake bite cure research

Doctors at the Wuzhou Traditional Chinese Medical Hospital said on Saturday that it is seeking cooperation with Asean countries on research into the treatment of snake bites.

The first step was inviting doctors from the 10-nation bloc to spend three months at the hospital.

The hospital started operation in 1960 as a private facility and opened its snake bite division in 1980. It currently provides treatment, vocational training and research on snake bites, besides other diseases.

It expects to have 24 visiting doctors for its Asian Snake Bite Treatment programme. In the first group were two Cambodian doctors who have been there since September.

“We hope they will go back with the knowledge to treat Cambodian patients,” said the secretary-general of the hospital’s CPC committee Luo Shidong.

The vice-president of the hospital Wen Daiwei said 99 per cent of snake bite patients who were treated with traditional medicine at her hospital were effectively cured. She said the traditional treatment methods have been requested to be added to the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage lists.

“We want to share our knowledge with Asean countries. We have a plan to provide vocational training twice a year,” said Wen.

Snake bite expert and professor at the hospital Yu Peinan said the plants used to produce the medicine usually grow on mountains in China and in Asean countries. During a trip to Cambodia, he said he found that the plants even grew in the Angkor Wat area.

'Highly effective'

Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital doctor Sieng Bunthan was one of the two Cambodian doctors invited by the hospital.

He said he found Chinese traditional treatment effective, especially when combined with modern medicine.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Snakes in jars to be used for snake bite treatment. Niem Chheng

“This hospital has old-hand experience in Chinese traditional medicine. But the practice here goes hand in hand with modern medicine. I saw their traditional medicine as highly effective."

“It helps reduce the consumption of medicine to neutralise the venom. The traditional medicine here is used not only for snake bites but also for other diseases,” he said.

Bunthan believed that the plants for producing the medicine were available in Cambodia and that traditional treatments have been put into practice in the country, but the topic was little discussed and the methods have not been well documented.

“In our country, we haven’t talked much about traditional medicine because we don’t have clear [methods] or [standards] in using [them]. Moreover, neither medical schools nor the Ministry of Health has a curriculum for our students to study [traditional medicine].

“I believe if such traditional medicine is available, it would reduce the high costs of snake bite treatments,” said Bunthan.

The other visiting Cambodian doctor Chang Mengkhim, who is based at the Kampong Cham Referral Hospital, said snake venom poses two risks – it affects the nervous system, which makes it difficult to breathe, and it affects the blood, making bleeding unstoppable.

Mengkhim said there are six main kinds of venomous snakes in Cambodia that are known to bite people, including the monocled cobra, the king cobra and the Thai spitting cobra.

“Khmer [people] know a lot of traditional medicines, but we don’t have a clear guideline for how many grammes [of something] should be used for a particular kind of treatment."

“I appeal to Cambodians to please send all snake bite cases to the hospital and only state hospitals, where there are antidotes available, not private hospitals,” he said.

Both Cambodian doctors worry that what they learned in China would not be applicable as traditional treatments were not widely recommended.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon