TIME Cites TREAT Asia Partner as Global Health Hero
February 2006—Dr. Sok Thim, research director and co-founder of the Cambodian Health Committee (CHC), was recognized as one of eighteen “heroes” in a November 4, 2005, TIME magazine cover story on global health, “How to Save a Life.”
Dr. Sok partnered with TREAT Asia on a recent project aimed at expanding the CHC’s successful campaign against tuberculosis in rural Svay Rieng Province to cover HIV/AIDS treatment and education. Cambodia has the highest rate of HIV infection in Southeast Asia and one of the world’s highest rates of tuberculosis. With support from the Cambodian Ministry of Health and the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology, and STDs, the CHC and Dr. Sok have been able to cure up to 95 percent of their TB cases. To achieve that number, the CHC employed an approach that the World Health Organization initially considered dubious—one involving free drugs, patient contracts aimed at ensuring treatment compliance, and nutritional supplements. Dr. Sok, who endured almost four years in a forced labor camp under the Khmer Rouge, co-founded the TB program with Dr. Anne Goldfeld of Harvard University.
With support from the Pfizer Foundation, in 2003 TREAT Asia joined with the CHC and other local organizations in extending the application of this program to rural Cambodians coinfected with TB and HIV, and the results have been good. The Svay Rieng Clinic’s HIV program saw a steady growth of adult enrollment along with the high rate of patient follow-up essential to successful treatment. "This is CHC at its best,” wrote TIME," —harnessing grassroots programs to find answers to vital medical questions."