Christians Help Stem Cholera Outbreak in Cambodia

By Nathanael Ng | Christian Post Correspondent

Two churches and a non-governmental organization working with the authorities have effectively stemmed a cholera outbreak in a district of Cambodia. The outbreak was part of a wider epidemic in the North-eastern Ratanakiri province that has resulted in at least 36 deaths since April.

Taveng district’s health center was overwhelmed with patients by early July. The health center expressed its need for help from volunteers to provide basic health education to prevent the spread of the disease. This was the evening of the first Sunday of the month.

As soon as churches in Ban Lung district and Ta Aung heard the plea, they mobilized their young people and trained them Monday morning. By the afternoon, volunteers were conducting a community education course with 300 people in attendance.

After the meeting, the team trained 14 health volunteers from Phaw and a neighboring village. Each volunteer received a set of materials to facilitate cholera education in outlying fields and hamlets.

In one instance, a woman living in a distant hamlet was about to die. However, local taboos prevented villagers from lending a motorized canoe to take her to the health center. The village head appealed to his Christian villagers and one of them lent his boat and the woman was saved.

Within three days, the team covered seven villages, all of them hotspots, in Taveng district. As a result of the cooperation between the Ban Lung Church, Christian development NGO ICC and district health authorities, the Taveng outbreak was brought under control.

According to official statistics, there were 96 cases and four deaths reported in Taveng during the one-week period of outbreak.

Cholera, a highly contagious disease, causes violent vomiting, diarrhea and possibly death from dehydration within four hours. More than 1,700 cases of cholera have been recorded in Ratanakiri province from April to early July. Read more at the CP.

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