Cambodia: Expanding frontline treatments for malaria and AIDS

Over the years MSF has played a pivotal role in the restructuring of the country's health system, building and strengthening facilities in marginalized areas. Now, only two health districts, Sotnikum and Thmar Pouk, are still supervised by MSF and even Thmar Pouk is preparing for handover. MSF will nevertheless maintain a presence in Cambodia, running a selection of small, pilot projects of high medical value, looking at ways to help the most vulnerable. Malaria One of the most innovative projects is aimed at research into effective malaria treatments in Anlong Veng and Sotnikum. Set up in response to a malaria epidemic in 1999, the project introduced combination therapy (artesunate and mefloquine) to combat drug resistance that has rendered old drugs ineffective and proven so fatal. The government soon adopted the more effective combination therapy in its national protocols. More recently MSF is considering an operational trial of a new combination drug called Artekin (which combines the drugs artemisinin and piperaquine); this combination therapy is cheaper and has fewer side-effects. The success could have significance beyond Cambodia, helping to improve access to effective and affordable malaria treatment in other countries as well. MSF is working with malaria specialists to gather the scientific data needed to develop a comprehensive treatment protocol (see page 10 for more on efforts to improve malaria treatment). International staff: 28 National staff: 177