Cambodia has experienced steady growth since 1999, yet its economy remains fragile and undiversified. The healthcare and education systems are underfunded, and infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), avian influenza, and dengue fever are serious concerns.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that malaria continues to be a problem in Cambodia. WHO cites studies indicating that counterfeit and substandard antimalarial drugs are frequent in Cambodia and a survey showing problems of delayed treatment, widespread use of many antimalarial drugs for the same malaria episode, and non-adherence to malaria treatment. In addition, multidrug resistance is prevalent in malaria-affected areas. Interestingly, one particular group of people native to Cambodia, the Khmer population, has a natural protection against the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which is responsible for the majority of malaria deaths in children worldwide.
NIAID-funded research in Cambodia focuses on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and avian influenza. The clinical research studies on HIV/AIDS include projects that investigate antiretroviral therapy use and treatment response, reduction of risk behavior, co-infection with TB, and the role of micronutrients. NIAID also supports a clinical study of avian influenza infection among people occupationally exposed to poultry in different settings in Cambodia.
DIR Opens New Malaria Lab, Strengthens Global Partnership
NIAID has collaborated with the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology, and Malaria Control (CNM) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, since 2005. The research partnership has thus far focused on malaria drug resistance, an emerging problem in Cambodia and in other parts of the world where the disease is widespread. The Cambodian center works closely with the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research in the NIAID Division of Intramural Research (DIR).
In December 2008, NIAID DIR, together with CNM, opened a newly renovated malaria research laboratory. It will facilitate ongoing and future collaborative research activities between the two institutions.