News / Asia

Cambodia Fights to Contain Drug-Resistant Malaria

Cambodian man purchases malaria medicine at local pharmacy
Cambodian man purchases malaria medicine at local pharmacy

The spread of drug-resistant malaria in Asia and Africa complicates the fight against the killer.  In Cambodia, the government has tightened its grip on private drug stores, often the source of resistance-enhancing fake drugs and improper treatment. There is concern, though, that the effort may shut down the pharmacies upon which Cambodians most rely.

Mom Va, who lives in Pailin in western Cambodia, says her malaria symptoms appeared a week ago, and she still has not recovered. Va worries that she has a strain of malaria called falciparum, which has become resistant to some of the most effective treatments.

In Cambodia's war against malaria, village health volunteers are at the frontline.  Trained volunteers, such as Mak Saeun, screen for Falciparum malaria and can treat other strains.
He says there used to be a lot of malaria in the region. But as the trees have been cut down on the hills, and people have begun to use insecticide-treated mosquito nets, the numbers are down.  Between 2006 and 2008, Cambodia almost halved its malaria cases, to about 54,000.

Now the appearance of the drug-resistant Falciparum in Cambodia, however, raises concerns that it will spread across Southeast Asia. The World Health Organization gathered regional experts and health workers to find ways to ensure success in the fight against malaria.

Major Stuart Tyner is with a U.S. Army medical team studying malaria. He says the malaria parasite eventually adapts to a single medicine. So using two or more drugs can stem resistance.

"There's always a concern that when resistance to any kind of medicine develops … that it's going to spread," said Tyner. "So, the idea that by changing the drug, you will be able to kill parasites that are becoming resistant to the old drug with a new drug. Once you do that, you are back to a level playing field, where the old drug can still work."

Fake drugs and the unregulated use of single drug treatments help create resistance. Both are common in poor areas of the world, like Pailin.  The Cambodian government has flooded the region with combination drugs, called ACTs, and is cracking down on unregistered drug stores.

But aid workers worry that many private drug stores and health care providers are left out.

Cris Jones is with Population Services International, which distributes anti-malaria kits and trains drug sellers on proper treatments. He says unregistered sellers must have access to ACTs.

"Seventy-five percent of Cambodians, when they go to seek access for treatment for malaria, they do so in the private sector," said Jones.  "It is important that we support the private sector to make sure they've got high-quality government approved ACTs, that they are treating properly, that they are diagnosing properly."

Although the WHO and Cambodia's Center for Malaria Control say the effort to contain the resistant strain is paying off, they warn the fight is far from over.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More