“Cambodia, a model in the fight against tuberculosis”

Prime Minister Hun Sen called for more efforts to reduce the incidence of TB among the population and intensify the fight against the disease in line with World TB Day 2022 with the theme “Investing to end TB “. Save lives’.

In his message yesterday, he said Cambodia had the highest burden of TB cases among 30 countries for 20 years and has now become a model in effectively controlling the disease and reducing cases.

He said 42 out of 100,000 people with TB died in 2000 and the number fell to 20 out of 100,000 deaths in 2020. There were 274 out of 100,000 TB patients in 2000 and that fell by 53% in 2020.

This, he added, was an achievement for the nation, and it needs to be further improved through early detection and effective treatment regimens so that patients can be fully treated with no more deaths.

He said he fully supports the efforts of relevant authorities and non-governmental organizations who are working hard to detect people with the disease and ensure that they follow the treatment regimen to recover in addition to changing their habits of eat, drink and live.

The World Health Organization representative in Cambodia, Dr Li Ailan, said that Cambodia is implementing the National Strategic Plan to End TB, 2021-2030, which is in line with the regional framework of the WHO for the Western Pacific.

She added that around 500,000 tuberculosis patients have been cured and 400,000 deaths have been averted since the year 2000.

In mid-2021, she said Cambodia had moved out of the list of 30 high TB ​​burden countries and was recognized for having successfully reduced the TB burden in recent years. Between 2015 and 2019, the incidence rate decreased by 22%.

Dr Ailan added, “Although having made remarkable achievements, Cambodia remains on the global TB watch list, which still deserves continued attention. The country has identified about 63% of the estimated 46,000 TB cases in 2020, meaning that one-third are unreached or missing or unreported cases. It is estimated that around 3,300 people died from tuberculosis in 2020”.

She said additional investments and collective efforts in TB detection, diagnosis, treatment and care are needed to sustain past achievements and accelerate progress towards the goal of ending TB by here 2030.

Director of the National Center for the Fight against Tuberculosis and Leprosy (CENAT), Hout Chan Yuda, said yesterday that he had detected 10,538 people with tuberculosis out of the 29,136 cases of research in 2020, while last year they found 7,716 people with TB out of 21,564 cases searched.

He said there had been a disruption in the treatment of people detected with TB, including their research activities after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rebecca R. Santistevan