Dr Khin Maung Than, township medical officer in the Sagaing region of Myanmar
Daw Wint Wint Soe and Daw Mar Mar Aung, health assistants in the Pinlebu township in Sagaing region, Myanmar
Moe Ma Ma Aye, malaria volunteer in Daj phan kon village in Kawlin township in northwest Myanmar’s Sagaing region
Comic Relief, GlaxoSmithKline plc
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports: Child Health and Development Division; Health Literacy Promotion Unit; Disease Control Division; Nutrition Development and Research Department
The National Malaria Control Programme
Township health departments
Rural communities in western Myanmar are ofen poorly served by the public health system and have limited access to vital health services due to their remoteness. To increase the provision of health services in rural areas and to 'fill in the gaps' in the formal healthcare system, Malaria Consortium piloted an integrated community case management (iCCM) approach through Myanmar's existing network of malaria volunteers. These volunteers were trained to diagnose and treat common childhood illnesses in children under five that may otherwise be fatal to them. Findings from this pilot have shown that malaria volunteers can help improve access to care for common childhood illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and malnutrition.
Results from the project demonstrate that malaria volunteers have been successful in diagnosing and treating childhood illnesses, as well as screening for malnutrition, while remaining vigilant about increasingly rare malaria cases. Moreover, the participation and cooperation of key government departments – NMCP, Child Health and Development Division, Nutrition Development and Research Division – in this project has been vital to the project’s success.
The project’s success is reflected in a grant Malaria Consortium recently won from Comic Relief and GSK and which will continue to support the populations of Sagaing region. The project will cover three additional townships (Kathar, Wuntho and Kawlin) for the next two years. Funding for the pilot came from Vitol Foundation and UK aid from the UK Government. The new two-year project is funded by Comic Relief and GSK.
Building upon the success of this pilot, Malaria Consortium is scaling up the approach from three to six townships of Sagaing region. The project will strengthen support for malaria volunteers to maintain and further develop their skills, improve the ability of basic health staff to provide the necessary supervision, address shortage of stocks for rapid diagnostic tests and medicines, and increase malaria volunteers’ motivation to provide and communities’ demand for health services.