Tran Viet Hung says that he was once a Vietnamese soldier and he was tasked with patrolling some of the most forested hills in the country. Towards the end of his service, he became sick of chills and fever. After some few tests at the government clinic, he was diagnosed with malaria. Nonetheless, he doesn’t see the issue as a big one. He even refers to it as an occupational hazard for the people working in Binh Phuoc Province of Vietnam. This is a province that’s known as a malaria hotspot. At the same time, this is a province bordering Cambodia. Today, he works as a farmhand at a rubber plantation in the area. He says that there is modern technology today that allows the treatment of any disease. He says that whenever he feels sick, he is confident that his doctor will treat him. There is some sense in his optimism.
For the last few years, people rarely succumb to the disease in the country. As a matter of fact, only 85 people have been killed by the disease in the region for the last two years. However, the situation was quite different 15 years earlier as 4,000 people had died due to the disease. This is according to research that had been conducted by Global Health Group. This is an institution that is affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco. The success in combating the disease is attributed to a drug that was invested in China sometimes back. The drug is known as artemisinin, and it’s very effective. At the same time, it’s also very inexpensive.
However, a recent study found out that the drug that’s usually combined with artemisinin is failing. This came to light when public health officials managed to identify the same parasites in people living in Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia meaning that the malaria parasite was spending. The biggest fear is that the parasite could find its way to sub-Saharan Africa where the disease is notorious for killing children. This is a region where approximately 3,000 children die on a daily basis due to malaria. This happens despite the widespread availability of the drug. Dr. Arjen M. Dondorp is one of the doctors who carried out the study. He recently said that there is a huge possibility that the disease could spread. He referred to the drug-resistant parasite as a superbug. He said that it’s now a reality and not a science fiction.