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USAID, WHO Hold Malaria Forum

To help fight the devastating effects of malaria in countries like Cambodia, governments need to exchange information, strengthen official capabilities, search for development partners and practice good governance, delegates of a malaria conference in Phnom Penh said Thursday.

The 11th Asian Malaria Forum, hosted by USAID and the World Health Organization and attended by Southeast Asian nations and China, wrapped up in Phnom Penh this week, following a year where Cambodia saw malaria cases rise from 60,000 to more than 100,000.

National Malaria Center Director Duong Socheat said the malaria situation was worse in Cambodia than other countries in the region and blamed last year's outbreak on heavy rains and increasing moves by people into new rural locations.

He appealed to those showing symptoms to seek medical attention from local clinics.

The country needs 40,000 to 50,000 mosquito nets per year to successfully fight the disease, he said.

The mosquitoes that carry malaria bite at night, so families who sleep under nets are better protected from the disease.