Programe 2008
Children’s Day
Campaign Against Dengue
Campaign Going to School
Campaign against Dengue

It was called “Participatory and Community Cooperation to Reduce Dengue Fever

It was conducted in Prek Chrey Commune, Koh Thom District, Kandal Province, on 15 September 2007
It was founded by: FSD, DED, AFSC, and GTZ with the support of the National Malaria Centre
From March 2007 KCD has been working together with members of the local community of Prek Chrey Village in the “Programme for Communal Development and Democratization Project” supported by DED (The group of 50 Khmer villagers gave itself the name of Prek Chrey Community for Development, called hereunder PCD). In the frame of this activity, the members of the community draw the attention of KCD on the urgent situation caused by the dengue epidemic, which would have infected 400 children and caused the death of 3 of them since May 2007.

Although the facts are difficult to verify, KCD could establish that lots of the round 650 Khmer and Vietnamese households in Prek Chrey were concerned.

The Campaign aimed to inform the population about the measures able to reduce the number of cases in the future, and to start the cooperation between both ethnic groups, the Khmer and the Vietnamese inhabitants of the village, in order to face more efficiently the common threat.

The population in Inner-Prek-Chrey is Khmer—along the Bassac are linving mostly ethnic Vietnamese

On the base of the official poster and leaflet of the CNM (National Malaria Centre) it has been reissued in Khmer and Vietnam­ese with the support of GTZ

Only one Health Centre for 12,500 Inhabitants

The Village of Prek Chrey itself (left side on the map) has no own Health Centre. The only one in the Commune of Prek Chrey (12,500 inhabitants, 84% of them being Vietnamese) is situated in the neigh­boring village Knar Tang Yu, (right side on the map) in the center of the com­mune that counts altogether 4 villages with 2,300 households. The Vietnamese population tradi­tionally goes across the river to the well equipped Vietnamese health centres.

Huge Health Costs
The Khmer population also goes to Vietnam in serious health concerns. They must pay there high bills for medical treatment: KCD knows about cases of families that had to pay several hundreds USD for dengue “treatment” (which is quite surprising as it is known that there is actually no treatment for this illness). Cows or even fields must be sold in order to face these costs.

During 5 weeks KCD and the members of the Communities of Inner Prek Chrey and Outer Prek Chrey met in order to organize the campaign. The representatives of the Vietnamese community were highly motivated and could motivate numerous participants from Outer Prek Chrey to join.

The Campaign Day
Speeches were hold in two languages inviting the population to commit themselves in the fight against dengue. Then the pro­cession formed, and went first west­ward 2 km along the main road of Inner Prek Chrey (see the upper left side on the map). Khmer and Viet­namese walked to­gether, showing the ban­­ners with the health and hygiene recom­men­da­tions in two lan­guages and distributing the leaflets and posters. A lot of child­ren and a Khmer tradition­al music band joined.

Then they formed little groups to travel by boat to Prek Chrey in order to have a direct access to the houseboats and the houses in the flooded area.

In coope­ra­tion with the health centre, the partici­pants also pro­vided abate pills to all house­holds in Inner and Outer Prek Chrey.

This 5 years old Vietnamese girl from Outer Prek Chrey just came back from hospi­tal in Vietnam, where she got a “treatment” against dengue that left on her feet and hands and arms huge scars, due to the repeated sticking of drip needles in her thin veins. The family had to pay 375 $ for this quest­ion­able service.

Vietnamese housing in Outer Prek Chrey: either in houseboats or in houses built on stilts that are washed by the Bassac River in the flood season.

After having contacted all 600 households in Inner and Outer Prek Chrey, the participants shared a “Unity Meal” that had been prepared by cooks from both communities, so that everybody had the opportunity to taste the traditional food of the other nation.  There were a lot of compliments from each community for the cooking of the other. It was for all participants a great experience to have this first joint meeting and eating in their life: as the oldest members of the village said, they don’t remember there has ever been such a celebration in the past.

In the afternoon, the celebration carried on with a Khmer-Vietnamese entertainment and information programme for all inhabitants of Prek Chrey, also awarding the participants with small presents for their contribution to the success of the campaign.

Results of the Campaign

The peak of the epidemic was already over as the campaign could be hold, and nobody thought the reducing of the number of falls was due to the campaign.

The most important was that the population discovered they are not helpless facing the epidemic of dengue and will better know how to face it in the future. An other effect was discovering the power of solidarity—even for only one day—between two communities who avoided each other before. Surely this campaign was not to solve the any conflict between them: some new conflicts even surged because of the common activities as they would have surged in any working group, and because of the cultural differences and prejudices that seemed to find confirmation for the one or the other at that occasion. The deciding point was that both group changed their way of living together from distant disapproval to the discovering of common interests. In this point too, the campaign was a great success.

After the big success of the Children’s Day on 1st June, in which only children had to learn cooperate, this Campaign showed that it will a longer work to convince the adults of both communities to learn cooperate repeatedly. Nevertheless KCD pursues the work as well with children as with the generation of their parents, as the participation of all is decisive in the process of inter-ethnic reconciliation.

The bi-lingual presenters test the knowledge of the participants about dengue with question-and-answer games
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