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  • Writer's pictureSovanpidor Ham

35,000 Calls & Counting: Update on Cambodia's National Disease Reporting Hotline

Updated: May 22, 2023

Published on Aug 22, 2017

This blog provides an update on the Cambodian national disease reporting hotline project, which is a collaborative effort involving the Cambodian CDC, Skoll Global Threats Fund, and InSTEDD. For more background information on the project, please visit the provided link.

Launched in January 2016, '115' is a national hotline available free of charge to the general public and healthcare workers in Cambodia. It allows individuals to access information and submit disease reports by dialing 1-1-5 on any phone. Just a few days into 2017, the hotline received some of its most significant calls.

A surge in call volume and a report from a rural health worker during the first week of January resulted in the early detection of a deadly strain of flu outbreak in the Svay Rieng province, which shares a border with Vietnam. The CDC office in Cambodia attributes the calls to the rapid response investigation and control of the outbreak, which saved lives and mitigated further suffering.

Chart demonstrates number of daily calls to 115 hotline between January – April 2017.

The iLab SEA team was not aware of the Svay Rieng outbreak detection and response story until it was uncovered during data analysis of the 35,000 total calls received by the hotline three months later.

In response to this, the CDC Cambodia and InSTEDD team have agreed to prioritize the ability to quickly aggregate and visualize hotline call data in an actionable format. It is important to note that this data work is conducted through a rigorous process by the 115 partners to ensure the security and privacy of the hotline callers.

In addition to advancements in data analytics, there has been a growing adoption of the hotline in Cambodia, thanks to an extensive training campaign led by the CDC Cambodia and the World Health Organization. To date, health staff in all twenty-five of Cambodia's provinces, including 1,350 health staff at provincial health departments and hospitals, operational districts, health centers, and referral hospitals, have received training on using the 115 hotline.

From conducting initial training and gathering feedback from users of the 115 hotline, several improvements have been made to better serve its dual purpose of engaging the general public and facilitating disease reporting by public health officials. The hotline has been modified based on feedback to automatically recognize incoming phone numbers of public health officials, allowing them to be directed to a special menu specifically for disease reporting.

Recognizing the importance of feedback and capacity building, ongoing efforts include refresher training and interviews with public health users. In the second half of 2017, the team plans to identify further areas for improvement and begin strategizing for the long-term sustainability of the hotline.

The CDC Cambodia remains enthusiastic about the progress of the 115 hotline. Sok Samnang, the Deputy Director of the CDC Cambodia, stated, "We are committed to working together to improve and support the 115 project. We will continue to collaborate with InSTEDD on new and innovative ideas and technologies to detect and respond to disease outbreaks."

The iLab Southeast Asia team is equally excited to witness the extended impact and expansion of the hotline. "InSTEDD iLab is delighted to collaborate with the CDC Cambodia in monitoring the 115 hotline and to continue innovating to ensure its ongoing success," said Chheang Kakada, the 115 hotline project manager at InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia.

Please stay tuned to the InSTEDD blog and follow iLab Southeast Asia on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates as we combat the spread of diseases with the technological innovation of the 115 hotline.

Here are the general statistics for the 115 hotline from January 1st to April 1st, 2017:

  • The hotline received a total of 35,487 calls during this period.

  • 9,690 callers accessed information about disease outbreaks.

  • 2,343 callers reported cases to CDC staff at the national level through case-based reporting.

  • 1,844 callers made inquiries for additional information from CDC staff.

  • 1,538 callers listened to special ambulance information provided by the Ministry of Health.



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