1.1 Prevention of Diseases

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1.1 Prevention of Diseases (Infectious and Non-communicable Diseases, Including Anti-Microbial Resistance and Zoonotic Diseases)

Infectious diseases are diseases caused by pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi1. Although progress has been made for some infectious diseases, many remain a challenge, including but not limited to Malaria, Tuberculosis and Avian Influenza2.

In contrast, non-communicable diseases, or chronic diseases are those that last for 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention and/or limit day-to-day activities3. Examples of such diseases are obesity, heart diseases, and diabetes.

One important topic when discussing prevention of diseases is the emergent of anti-microbial resistance, sometimes referred to as “superbugs” 4. One such disease is Artemisinin (a common drugs used to combat Malaria) resistant Malaria5. These superbugs pose threat as medicines become ineffective, resulting in possible increase in infection rates.

Map of confirmed Malaria cases in Cambodia (2017) 6

Prevention of these diseases is an important key step in eliminating them and work towards a healthier Cambodia. Your task is to design an engineering solution to help with the prevention of these diseases in the future.

Example: Diarrhoea remains one of the main causes of child mortality, at 54 death per 100,000 as of 2013. Prevention of diarrhoea can be done by separating sewage from drinking water and guaranteeing access  to  safe  water  to  all  Cambodian.  Take  for  example  EWB’s  effort  to  provide sanitation  in challenging environments (SCE) 7. Can you design a solution that takes into account both sanitation and clean water needs that is appropriate for the Cambodian people in remote areas?

Example: There has been evidence that the current COVID-19 pandemic first started from a wet market. Similar traditional market exists in many parts of South East Asia, including in Cambodia. One solution to make these market safer is with refrigeration. However, refrigerators are expensive to obtain and require electricity to run at all times. How can we design a safer market for these communities to prevent the emergent of future global pandemics?

Related Ideas: Healthcare Access, Realtime surveillance and reporting, Emergency preparedness and response planning

Further Readings:
[1] World Health Organisation (WHO) – Infectious Diseases,
[2] USAID https://www.usaid.gov/cambodia/tuberculosis-and- malaria#:~:text=Tuberculosis%20(TB)%2C%20malaria%20and,die%20annually%20from% 20the%20disease.
[3] US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/index.htm#:~:text=Chronic%20diseases%20ar e%20defined%20broadly,disability%20in%20the%20United%20States.
[4] World Health Organisation (WHO) – Microbial disease factsheet, https://www.who.int/news- room/fact-sheets/detail/antimicrobial- resistance#:~:text=What%20is%20antimicrobial%20resistance%3F,%2C%20antimalarials%2C%20and%20anthelmintics.
[5] President’s Malaria Initiatives https://www.pmi.gov/docs/default-source/default- document-library/country-profiles/cambodia_profile.pdf
[6] World Health Organisation (WHO) – Cambodia country profile
[7] EWB Sanitation Challenge – https://www.ewb.org.au/project/sce/