Cambodia: Focusing on HIV/AIDS care

Malaria is the main health problem in this isolated area, where resistance to the drugs traditionally used to treat the illness have rendered it even more deadly. The MSF team is working to bring early malaria diagnosis techniques and essential new medicines to Cambodia.

MSF is active in the infectious disease ward of Preah Bat Norodom Sihanouk Hospital in the capital city, Phnom Penh. MSF staff treat patients with ARVs; diagnose and care for opportunistic infections; and train social workers and family caregivers to reduce their risk of HIV exposure, improve the quality of care provided and increase treatment compliance.

By mid-2005, 2,064 adults and 110 children were receiving ARVs at this hospital, and MSF staff were conducting an average of 2,170 HIV consultations each month. Even more commonly, MSF treats patients with TB in the hospital's infectious disease ward. Many of the organization's patients are infected with both HIV and TB.

A similar project is operated by an MSF team in Kampong Cham province at the provincial hospital and through home-based care. MSF staff members in this province conduct an average of 1,370 consultations per month, and by the second half of 2005, 920 adults and 100 children had started ARV treatment. Throughout 2005, MSF's goal has been to add 65 patients per month to its ARV-treatment program.

In the past, MSF cooperated with other organizations in Sotnikum operational district, located in Siem Reap province, a poor rural area in the northwest of Cambodia, to implement a program to improve the quality of health services. MSF transferred this project to partners in October 2004 so that it could focus exclusively on improving the quality of medical care in Sotnikum.

MSF has run a chronic diseases clinic there since September 2003 and started a community TB-care project in October 2004. As of mid-2005, MSF was caring for 321 people with HIV/AIDS in Sotnikum, of whom 210 were receiving ARVs.

MSF also runs a chronic diseases clinic in Siem Reap Provincial Hospital. As of mid-2005, 881 adults and 180 children were receiving ARVs through the MSF clinic in Siem Reap and more than 2,500 people with HIV/AIDS were under the care of MSF. In March 2003, MSF opened another chronic disease clinic in Takeo province. By June 2005, more than 1,500 adults and 192 children were getting comprehensive care in Takao, including 923 adults and 86 children receiving ARV treatment.

MSF is also caring for those with malaria in Cambodia. In the western municipality of Pailin, close to the Thai border, several village malaria volunteers and mobile teams travel among 60 villages, reference hospitals and health centers. Malaria is the main health problem in this isolated area, where resistance to the drugs traditionally used to treat the illness have rendered it even more deadly. The MSF team is working to bring early malaria diagnosis techniques and essential new medicines to Cambodia.

MSF supports school hostages

Masked gunmen stormed into a school in the town of Siem Reap in June 2005, taking hostage 29 kindergarten pupils, many of them the children of foreign workers. A few hours later, Cambodian police freed the hostages by force, killing one child and two of the kidnappers in the process.

MSF supported the local hospital by providing blood to the blood bank and identifying psychologists in Phnom Penh who could give trauma counseling to the affected families and school staff.

MSF has worked in Cambodia since 1989.

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