The Ministry of Health is encouraging those who work or dwell in forests to seek malaria testing immediately after returning from the forest. All citizens are being urged to protect themselves in order to eradicate the disease in the Kingdom by 2025.

Minister Mam Bun Heng visited over 300 forestry officials, rangers, volunteers, farmers and plantation workers in Samrong commune’s Veal village of Pursat province’s Phnom Kravanh district on October 8. He also distributed mosquito nets to them during his visit.

“Farming workers, foresters and all who travel through the forests must seek malaria testing immediately with the malaria treatment volunteers in their villages after they return from the forest. If the malaria virus is found, it must be treated immediately,” he said.

Those who are at risk of the disease should use mosquito nets and insect repellant when they have to sleep in the forest. They should also take anti-malaria medication before entering the forest, he added.

“In order to eradicate malaria by 2025, it is necessary to have the participation of the people. They must use mosquito nets, take medicine and get tested whenever they have been in the forest for long,” he said.

He noted the importance of making both physical efforts – nets and repellant – but also medicinal ones. They should not rely entirely on one over the other.

“These strategies must be implemented simultaneously. We are committed to reducing cases by 2023 and eradicating it by 2025,” he said.

He also asked health service providers at all levels to provide health education to changing attitudes in the prevention and treatment of malaria.

He recommended that the Malaria Control Centre and all relevant partners identify vulnerable populations in their areas, so that testing and treatment will be done efficiently.

“Villages with a high rate of malaria should all be tested and collectively treated. Special care must be taken when dealing with pregnant women and children,” he said.

In addition, he urged all provincial health departments, local authorities and health partner organisations to cooperate to implement the National Strategic Plan to eradicate malaria by 2025.

Pursat deputy governor Pov Piseth said his province was committed to working with the national programme to educate people about the prevention and eradication of malaria.

“We will make efforts to cooperate with the national programme, especially with the health ministry, to participate in any and all activities that will contribute to the elimination of it in Pursat province forever,” he said.

According to the ministry, malaria cases fell 97.5 per cent from 2011 to 2021.

The ministry said its malaria eradication strategy has now been in effect for ten years. No deaths from the virus have been recorded since 2018, meaning a Cambodia achieved one of its goals three years ahead of schedule.

Last National Malaria Day, April 25, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that despite the difficulties caused by the spread of Covid-19, malaria control work was still working well and proceeding according to plan.

Citing the National Malaria Control Programme, he said that in 2021, total malaria infections were 4,279, a 54 per cent drop compared to the previous year.

“Although the work against malaria is achieving great results, we must continue to accelerate its eradication in accordance with the National Strategic Plan for the Eradication of Malaria in the Kingdom of Cambodia 2011-2025,” he added.