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MSF in Cambodia, 2006/2007
Field Staff: 361
Reason for Intervention:
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MSF’s work in Cambodia began in 1979, providing medical aid to people in the refugee camps along the Thai- Cambodian border. A decade later, as refugees were repatriated, MSF moved inland and played a role in helping rebuild the country’s health structure, which had collapsed after decades of war. MSF’s presence in Cambodia is decreasing as the capacity of the health system improves, but the country remains the site of MSF’s largest AIDS program in Asia, with 7,900 patients on anti-retroviral treatment (ART) as of April 2007.
MSF in Cambodia has focused on an innovative approach, treating HIV/AIDS as a chronic disease alongside diabetes and hypertension, which also have high prevalence rates. The programs are being progressively handed over to the Ministry of Health (MoH), but 44 percent of patients on ART nationwide still receive their drugs through MSF-supported clinics.
In Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Takeo, Kompong Cham, and more recently Otdar Mean Chay, MSF provides ART including secondline treatment for those who do not respond well to standard (firstline) treatment, as well as counseling, treatment of opportunistic infections and information on HIV/AIDS. MSF offers technical assistance to the government to help facilitate the national plan to put more people on ART. MSF also operates a pediatric HIV/AIDS project, which has been successful with approximately 750 children started on treatment by July 2007 with dramatic improvements in immune system functioning, growth, development and quality of life.
Particular attention has been given to neglected populations and MSF also provides treatment and care to HIV-positive inmates in two of Phnom Penh’s main prisons.
During 2007 in Takeo, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, MSF increasingly focused on developing treatment for patients affected by tuberculosis (including multi drug-resistant TB), independent of their HIV status. These activities included training national health staff on TB management and renovating TB wards in Takeo. Further renovation is planned in Siem Reap and in Kompong Cham to provide better isolation for patients.
MSF also supports the local health authorities’ response to seasonal epidemics. In the summer of 2007 MSF offered medical supplies and human resources to control the outbreak of dengue fever, a disease transmitted through bites of infected mosquitoes, which is endemic in the region.
MSF has worked in Cambodia since 1979.