Dengue is a rapidly growing viral infection spread by the same species of mosquito as the Zika virus. Prior to 1970, only nine countries had witnessed epidemics – now that number stands at over 100. Typically found in tropical and sub-tropical climates and often in urban environments, the infection leads to symptoms including high fever, severe headaches, fatigue, vomiting and severe joint and muscle pain. In about five percent of cases, the disease can progress to a more severe stage that can cause death. Most outbreaks occur in Asia, where it is estimated that 50-100 million people are affected every year.
Myanmar saw its highest ever recorded number of cases in 2015, with 120 confirmed deaths between January and September. However, these numbers may be even higher, with many cases going undetected or unreported. Prevention and control of dengue relies mainly on controlling the mosquito responsible and ensuring proper medical care is accessible to manage symptoms.
Malaria Consortium has been working with the Ministry of Health in the country for some time to revise the national dengue prevention and control guidelines with strategic funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (Programme Partnership Arrangement). These revisions are based on the most recent World Health Organization recommendations, making the guidance more up-to-date and applicable in programmatic settings. For the guidelines to have a positive impact, health workers need to be trained to use them despite often being located in poorly-resourced health facilities.
Last month, Malaria Consortium began a study comparing two approaches to rolling out the revised guidelines to health workers.
The study – conducted through COMDIS-HSD, a Research Programme Consortium funded by UK aid – will be carried out in four townships in two regions of Myanmar and will vary these two approaches for comparison. The effectiveness of the two training approaches will be evaluated by assessing health workers’ knowledge of dengue prevention and control and their practical skills in applying the guidelines to their roles, as well as health facilities’ dengue outbreak preparedness and dengue data recording practices.
The findings from the study will help to improve dengue prevention and control, especially by ensuring consistent, timely and complete reporting of dengue cases. This will contribute to the early and reliable detection of dengue outbreaks in the country.
Results are expected by December 2016.
Learn more about our other COMDIS-HSD studies below: