FRIDAY 11, JULY 2008
New $4b
dams in
Two students nationwide earned A’s on their
high school graduation exams, the only perfect
scores out of about 55,000 students who passed
the finals. Heng Kothai said he’s always been a
perfectionist, while Chhay Sopanhana says her
family has always taught her the value of learning.
Both decry the widespread practice of bribing
exam proctors and cheating, but they say it’s
Proposed 10 dams to
> 2
generate electricity
pong Chhnang and Banteay
Meanchey provinces, and the
Pakistan fumes
HE Ministry of Water
ministry is consulting with en-
Resources and Me-
gineers from China and South
over deadly
teorology has begun
Korea, Veng Sakhon said.
preliminary studies
He added that the govern-
cross-border raid
for the building of a series of
ment must look outside the
dams across four provinces.
country for the money needed
“We are planning to build
to complete the ambitious
The Pakistan government has lodged a formal
more than 10 dams and re-
protest with the US ambassador over a cross-
lated irrigation systems in
“We will need more than
border raid that left at least 15 people dead. Both
four northwestern provinces
US$4 billion,” he said, adding
the US-led coalition and the NATO-led force in
to ensure rice production dur-
that the ministry is still in the
Afghanistan have denied any knowledge of the
ing both the rainy and dry sea-
preliminary stages of planning
incident, which involved the use of helicopters.
sons,” Veng Sakhon, secretary
the massive projects.
The raid follows reports that the US military was
of state for the ministry, told
Chan Tong Yves, secretary of
planning direct attacks in Pakistan on militants
the Post this week.
state for the Ministry of Agri-
blamed for attacks in Afghanistan.
> 7
The proposed dams would
culture, Forestry and Fisheries,
provide the country with a
said Cambodia must improve
more modern irrigation sys-
its irrigation systems to meet
tem as well as generate elec-
greater agricultural and export
tricity for rural communities,
demands. “We have suffered
Good enough to
he said.
drought in some areas, but
However, other dam projects
nothing serious yet,” he said.
drink: Water quality
have come under fire for their
Meas Sotheavy, head of the
impact on the environment
statistics office at the ministry’s
means business
and lack of transparency.
Planning and Statistics De-
The ministry aims to build
partment, said only a relatively
four dams in Pursat province
small portion of Cambodia’s
The quality of Phnom Penh’s public water
that would supply irrigation
rice fields is irrigated.
supply has improved to such an extent that
to more than 35,000 hectares
“Now, only about 30 percent
hotels and other businesses are relying less on
of land and generate as much
of rice paddies are connected
expensive private water supply systems and tap-
300 megawatts of power
to irrigation systems. We’d like
The truth about Leprosy
ping into the municipal water service at a much
for local communities. Other
to get that number to 40 per-
lower cost. The city hopes this will become a
proposed dam sites include lo-
cent by the end of this year,”
When former monk Chey Choum was diagnosed with leprosy at age 23, his
sentence was a lifetime of isolation and social stigma. But now Cambodia are
selling point for other foreign investors who may
cations in Battambang, Kam- she said.
leading the way in integrated leprosy treatment.
previously have gagged on Cambodia’s notori-
ously bad water.
> 13
NRP not seeking govt coalition deal
where he fled in 2007 under a cloud
government is expected to be sworn
faction of Funcinpec that remains
quits before
of legal troubles.
in on September 24.
loyal to the ruling party, adding that
THE Norodom Ranariddh Party is
“What we are worried about is the
The NRP had initially rejected the
the NRP was not welcome.
not seeking a coalition government
fact that the Prince is absent from
election results, along with Cambo-
“We will watch the NRP for a cou-
deal, its officials said Thursday,
the country,” Suth Dina said, add-
dia’s other opposition parties, but
ple more years and if they have a
denying earlier reports that it want-
ing that the party never requested
then abruptly endorsed them in
similar platform and vision as us,
The soap opera that is England’s Premier
ed a partnership with the ruling
a coalition deal with the CPP.
what some observers saw as a bid
we will agree to take them,” he
League commenced a new episode Thursday
Cambodian People’s Party.
“What we need first is help for
to pave the way for the Prince’s
with the revelationWest Ham manager Alan Cur-
NRP spokesman Suth Dina said
Ranariddh,” he said.
According to official election
bishley had walked off the job amid transfer rows
the party’s priority was securing the
The NRP, created after Ranariddh
Government spokesman Khieu
results released Tuesday, the CPP
with the club’s foreign owners. Coming on the
return of its leader, Prince Noro-
was ousted as head of Funcinpec,
Kanharith told the Post Thursday
won 90 of the National Assembly’s
heels of a similar cliffhanger at Newcastle, indica-
dom Ranariddh, who remains in
won two seats in parliament in last
that the CPP’s overriding goal was
123 seats, more than enough to
tions are that new management styles are a major
self-imposed exile in Malaysia,
month’s general election. A new
to create a government alongside a
form a government on its own.
source of friction with veteran coaches.
> 23
Leprosy loses age-old stigma
a patient in six-12 months and
business loans to around 300
stops the risk of spreading
patients eager to reenter the
HEY Chourp was
infection within days, segre-
job market as food vendors,
a well respected
gation was international
moto drivers or pig farmers.
monk within the
“We want people to change
community until at
The World Health Organiza-
the attitude from charity to
at age 23 he was diagnosed
tion (WHO) has since adjust-
responsibility,” he said. “We
with leprosy. It was 1963 and
ed its policy, stating that
help them to be free and
his sentence was a lifetime of
treatment should be incorpo-
regain their independence. It
confinement, social fear and
rated in the mainstream
makes me so happy when I
medical system.
see their success.”
He was sent to a leper colony
Dr Lai Ky says that now
For 34-year-old Kong Sitha,
in Kampong Cham known as
there is no doubt that
Treoung village. The only
province can be treated for
have changed
work available was stone
leprosy in their local health
dramatically in recent years.
breaking for road construc-
centers, remaining in their
In 1991, she and her sister,
tion, but this work is danger-
also diagnosed with leprosy,
ous for leprosy patients who
“Through integration, aware-
moved to Cambodia’s only
commonly have no feeling in
ness and knowledge is rising,”
remaining former leper
their hands.
he said.
”Children on
colony, Treoung village in
With no pain, his fingers were
treatment can still attend
Kampong Cham, from their
repeatedly damaged and
school. People are not afraid
home 50 kilometers away,
often left untreated. Chourp
anymore. The stigma is
even though treatment was
Bou Souphal (right) from a project called Social Economic Rehabilitation for Leprosy visits former patient Lay
bears the scars, showing
Houth at his garbage recycling business. Once institutionalised for his affliction, Lay Houth is now a successful
entrepreneur in Kampong Cham province.
available at the local clinic.
hands with barely any fingers
Pam Gantley, manager of the
Fear and discrimination
International Committee of
from neighbors forced them
“At that time, life here was
the Order of Malta’s Kien
to move, and even after
very strict,” he said. “No one
Kleang Leprosy Rehabilitation
was allowed to go out and
Center in Phnom Penh, partly
returned to their
people from outside were
- Leprosy is not hereditary or sexually transmitted.
village. Instead, the pair set
afraid to come in. I felt hope-
advanced policies to the short
- Leprosy is not fatal.
up a restaurant on the
- Leprosy does not rot the flesh or cause fingers to fall off.
roadside just outside of
less. I didn’t want to live
lifespan of the current medi-
cal system.
- Leprosy is not easy to catch. In reality, an estimated 90 percent of the world’s population is
Treoung, with a small loan
Despite medical break-
Having been reestablished in
naturally immune.
from SER.
throughs, Chourp’s story of
the 1980s after MDT had been
- Only around ten percent of leprosy patients incur visible disabilities.
Sophal was a big supporter of
confinement and isolation
discovered, the center began
- It is possible for a healthy immune system to overcome leprosy without treatment.
still recurs in many countries.
with an inclusive rather than
- Modern medication kills the germs that spread leprosy. After just one dose, the patient is no
stopping with friends and
Fear and misunderstanding
an exclusive approach to
longer contagious.
colleagues, many people
- After treatment, a patient is totally cured, even if disability remains.
leprosy patients, she said.
would ask him why he wasn’t
- Leprosy treatment is free in Cambodia.
policies in place in counties
Segregation policies were
afraid to eat there.
such as India, were by law
never reinstated.
“I take the opportunity to
leprosy patients cannot
“If you don’t separate people
explain to them there is no
travel by train or apply for a
in the first place you don’t
Early detection means the
the disease untreated. The
village that patients under
driver’s license, and China,
need to reintegrate them,”
disease can be cured before
stigma associated with lepro-
treatment are not contagious
Over time,
which has refused to allow
said Gantley. “It makes the job
the crippling effects take
sy causes many to remain
and pose no risk by remain-
replaced fear and the restau-
anyone having had leprosy to
a lot easier.”
silent, he said, so accurate
ing within the community.
rant became popular, partic-
attend the Beijing Olympic
Despite the progress, much
The first step when a new
information is the only way
The program provides
ularly among truck drivers
work remains, Lai Ky said. The
case of leprosy occurs is to
to overcome this fear.
self-care methods and advice
who frequented the busy
But for Cambodian leprosy
number of new cases is
visit the family and the
“Before I began the SER
to those still suffering the
national highway.
patients, times are changing
declining steadily but there
village and check for other
program, I worked with so
irreversible effects of leprosy.
Now both sisters are married
as the Kingdom leads the way
are still around 400 detected
cases, said Bou Sophal, who
many patients who had been
Simple things such as taking
to former customers, both
with a more modern
began directing a pilot
cured of leprosy but had felt
care not to touch hot objects
truck drivers, and Sitha
In 2007, 11.4 percent reached
project in 2000 now known
no change in their lives,”
like pot handles, wearing
recently became the mother
2 disability levels
as Social Economic Rehabili-
Sophal said. “They were still
shoes to prevent sole lacera-
of a happy, healthy baby girl.
Dr Lai Ky, Officer in Charge of
and irreversible
tation for Leprosy (SER).
called khlung [a derogatory
tions, and cleaning and
“I never thought it would be
the National Leprosy Elimi-
disability - before the disease
It is important, Sophal said,
term for lepers]. The bacteria
caring for wounds can
possible to live a normal life,
nation Program (NLEP), said
was detected. This indicated
not only to teach people
were gone but the stigma and
prevent further disabilities in
but now I’m just like other
that prior to discovery in the
methods still
what symptoms to look for
fear remained.”
patients with no pain reflex.
people,” she said with a
1980s of a multi-drug therapy
needed to be improved, Lai Ky
but to inform them of the
Sophal strives to reassure
Through SER, Sophal said he
broad smile as her daughter
(MTD) that completely cures
coonsequences of leaving
family and friends in the
has personally granted small
giggled in her arms.
leprosy patient Kong
Sitha holds her daughter
near her family home in
Treoung village. “I never
thought it would be
possible to live a normal
Leprosy begins as numb, discolored skin patches. Left
life, but now I’m just like
other people,” she said.
untreated, it begins to attack the nervous system, particu-
larly within the limbs and face. In its worst form, motor skills
in the limbs decrease; sweating stops and skin begins to
Dr Lai Ky treats a leprosy
dry out. Feeling in the extremities is lost. Muscle weakness
patient during a home visit
can lead to clawed hands and feet that drop down toward
last week. Leprosy damages
the ground, causing patients to drag their feet.
nerves causing a patient to
lose feeling, especially in the
With no feeling or sense of pain, patients frequently injure
extremities.. Without pain,
their hands and feet without knowing it. Unfelt wounds go
damage to the limbs often
untreated, dry skin cracks, callous forms. Digits can literally
be worn down or lost through injury, leading to the
common misconception that leprosy rots the skin. Nerves
in the face can also be affected, eventually leading to