Malaria Cases are Still High in the South of Laos

Source: Vientiane Times

Some areas of Laos are still experiencing high rates of malaria throughout the year, despite the government’s efforts to control the debilitating disease.

Director General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control under the Ministry of Health, Dr. Rattanaxay Phetsouvanh, last week led a meeting in Vientiane to discuss the chronic problem of malaria.

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Dr. Rattanaxay said most cases occurred in the south of Laos, so it was necessary to focus on these areas when attempting to reduce transmission of the disease. Meanwhile, much remains to be done to achieve the ministry’s goal to wipe out malaria in Laos.

The government is carrying out control activities, establishing a network of malaria awareness services at the village level, providing long-term medication for malaria sufferers, and tracing patients in the malaria response process, he added.

The Ministry of Health joined forces with local and international partners to devise a plan to eliminate malaria, which was implemented in 60 villages of seven districts in five provinces last year.

The ministry and its partners are continuing to seek more support from the authorities, international organizations, and development partners in the implementation of malaria control activities to be implemented in Savannakhet and Attapeu provinces.

To accelerate efforts to eliminate malaria, authorities will run awareness-raising campaigns in local communities and carry out surveys. They will also distribute medication in target villages and make sure preventive drugs are available for the general population.

The authorities will encourage people to take medication to prevent infection and those who develop a fever will be examined every two weeks.

Last year, cases of malaria were detected in 38 districts out of the total 148 districts. Cases were identified in 88 health facilities out of the 1,244 health facilities that exist across the country.