The Ministry of Health held its 41st annual congress to promote public health on Tuesday, attended by more than 500 officials from the ministry, local authorities and 25 provincial and municipal health departments.
The two-day event from March 3-4 was held to exchange ideas among health officials about experiences, challenges and improvements in the healthcare sector to improve and promote public health.
The ministry reported the results of a number of initiatives, including transmitted disease service delivery and the smoke-free ban.
It said the smoking ban led to smoking in workplaces and public areas dipping by 17 per cent, while 71 per cent of buildings now have a non-smoking sign.
The ministry said 86 per cent of building owners were aware of the smoking ban while 60 per cent of them ordered the public not to smoke in their buildings or within their building’s compound. Another 90 per cent of building owners supported a smoking ban in the workplace and public spaces.
The ministry said the government issued a sub-decree in 2016 on the ban on tobacco products in the workplace and public spaces, and that anyone who fails to comply with the sub-decree shall pay a fine of $5, while owners of public spaces face a $12.50 fine.
The report also said 31,971 malaria infection cases were recorded last year – down 46 per cent compared to 2018 – while the number of dengue fever cases was 68,597, three times more than in 2018. There were 48 fatalities.
The number of HIV/AIDS patients registered in antiretroviral drug plans last year was 3,831, an increase from 2018’s 3,684 registered patients.
There were 75,194 patients with diabetes who sought consultation, while 10,566 cancer patients were diagnosed and treated in hospital, of which 74 men and 69 women died, it said.
The report said there were 8,783 patients diagnosed with hepatitis, while tuberculosis fell from 42 persons per 100,000 in 2000 to 18 persons per 100,000 in 2018.
The ministry noted that malaria will be eliminated by 2025 and there will be no fatalities in 2020, just as there have been none in the past three years.
Minister Mam Bun Heng said on Tuesday that dengue fever in 2020 will decrease to about a third or two-thirds of the total number last year.
However, he said the death rate for dengue fever last year was the lowest at 0.7 per cent of total infections.
“The mortality rate is very low because people are aware of the problem. When ill, their children were taken to hospital. Our doctors are very skilful, and we have enough medicine and equipment to take care of them,” he said.