The Cambodia Daily’s effort to beat malaria through the distribution of mosquito nets impregnated with chemicals will soon span the major cities of Asia thanks to 100 new collection boxes donated by Rick Dyck, a US businessman based in Tokyo.
The hard plastic collection boxes, recently ordered from a plastics company in Shanghai, will draw donations from guests at five-star hotels from Shanghai to Singapore and even go after the diplomatic dollar with a box planned for the Japanese Embassy in Beijing.
The new boxes will complement a handful placed outside of Phnom Penh, including at the Cambodian Embassy in Washington, the Intercontinental Hotel in Hong Kong and the Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap.
The boxes are helpful in gathering needed funds to purchase mosquito nets, though they are sometimes sabotaged: The collection box at the embassy in Washington was recently stolen, according to the Cambodian ambassador to the US, Roland Eng.
Dyck said he got the idea to fund new collection boxes after a morning meeting with Bernard Krisher, publisher of The Cambodia Daily and the creator of the newspaper’s weekly mosquito net campaign.
Dyck said he arrived on time only to be told that Krisher would be late.
“He was out collecting his [malaria collection] boxes,” Dyck said.
The funds deposited in the new malaria boxes are sorely needed. The malaria parasites plasmodium falciparum, the less common plasmodium vivax and the rare plasmodium malaria continue to ravage the health of people living in remote villages.
This week, Krisher, Dyck and Ministry of Health officials distributed nets in six villages near Banlung in Ratanakkiri province as part of The Daily’s campaign. On Sunday, 450 bed nets were handed out in three villages; on Tuesday, 948 nets were given away in another three villages.
Malaria killed 457 people in Cambodia last year, or more than one per day, according to the National Malaria Control program. Distribution of mosquito nets in recent years has slowed malaria’s march to some extent: Health officials recorded 3,749 cases in 1997, but just 2,673 last year.
The number of deaths from 1997 to now has also declined, from 865 six years ago.
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