PHNOM PENH, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Princess Astrid of Belgium, special representative of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM), will visit Cambodia from April 24 to 26 in order to attend the celebration of the World Malaria Day, according to a joint statement from Cambodian Health Ministry and the World Health Organization-Cambodia on Monday.
The forthcoming visit is made at the invitation of Health Minister Mam Bunheng and WHO Cambodia's Representative Dr. Pieter Van Maaren.
The princess will attend the World Malaria Day on Thursday morning in western Kampong Speu province. In the afternoon, she will join the WHO's launching of "Emergency Response to Artemisinin Resistance in the Greater Mekong Subregion" in Phnom Penh. "It is my great honor to be invited by the Health Ministry and the WHO to visit Cambodia for the events,"Princess Astrid said in the statement."The Health Ministry and the WHO are important partners in fighting against malaria and I am pleased to join with Cambodia to fight the disease."
Cambodia has achieved the United Nations Millennium Development Goal in reducing death toll by malaria three years earlier than the schedule, Dr. Char Meng Chuor, director of the National Center for Malaria, said last month.
He said the mortality rate by malaria had declined from 5.29 deaths per 100,000 people in 2000 to 0.32 deaths per 100,000 people in 2012. "In the UN's Millennium Development Goal, Cambodia sets its goal to reduce the malaria death rate to 0.78 deaths per 100,000 people by 2015, but we cut the death rate to 0.32 deaths last year, so it means that we achieved the U.N. goal three years earlier than the schedule," he told the annual malaria conference.
He said malaria killed 45 Cambodian people last year, down 52 percent year-on-year.
In the last five years, in a bid to fight the disease, the center had distributed 6.1 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets to the disease-prone people free of charge, he said.
Dr. Char said that based on the figures, it is believed that the country will be able to eradicate the death from malaria by 2015 and will completely eliminate all forms of malaria by 2025.
The Roll Back malaria Partnership was founded by UNICEF, WHO, UNDP and the World Bank in 1998 as a global framework to coordinate global action against malaria.
Currently, RBM is a global public-private partnership made up of more than 500 organizations across sectors that provides a neutral platform for developing solutions to challenges in the implementation of malaria control interventions and strategies.