The Cambodian Red Cross has set up tents on the grounds of the Stung Treng referral hospital and another outside to cope with a lack of children’s beds due to the dengue fever outbreak gripping the province.
Stung Treng Provincial Hall spokesman Men Kong told The Post on Tuesday that parents were sending their sick children to the referral hospital rather than health centres or private clinics. This had resulted in a shortage of beds. Hence, the tents were set up as emergency treatment rooms.
“There are many patients being treated at the hospital. We can’t move dengue patients, so we need to set up additional facilities to take care of them,” Kong said.
If the situation worsens, Kong said the authorities plan to send doctors from the Stung Treng Provincial Referral Hospital to district health centres in stricken areas.
Stung Treng Provincial Referral Hospital director Suy Sopheap said each tent was equipped with lighting and fans and could treat up to eight children.
“It cannot be said that there is a lack of beds at the hospital. This is an unusual situation due to the current serious outbreak of dengue fever. We have enough beds for the normal daily running of the hospital, but this is an outbreak we encounter maybe once every 10 years,” Sopheap said.
He said the hospital had admitted 278 patients as of Monday, of whom 60 had dengue fever. Children made up 140 of those receiving treatment, while the hospital only has 20 beds for child patients.
Ung Soviet and Khut Sothina, director and deputy director of the Stung Treng Provincial Health Department, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Leang Rithy, the director of the National Dengue Disease Control Programme; Huy Rekol, the director of the Ministry of Health’s National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control and Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine could also not be reached.
In the first six months of this year, 24 people have died of dengue fever, with 13,000 cases of the virus reported. This is a fivefold increase on the same period last year.