PSI (Population Services International)
Building strong non-formal private sector malaria services in underserved areas
In Myanmar, the national malaria control program (NMCP) has made great progress in reducing malaria morbidity and mortality since 2007, but malaria remains a major public health issue in the country. 56% of all reported cases in the Greater Mekong Sub region (GMS) occur in Myanmar. In addition, progress is threatened by the emergence and spread of artemisinin resistance in GMS countries.
This project aimed to contribute to stronger health systems and improve malaria control in underserved areas of Myanmar by equipping non-formal providers with the skills and products to effectively manage malaria cases. It also focused on improving health-seeking behaviours of community members, capturing data on malaria cases, and reporting that data into the national health management information system (HMIS) to inform decisions and strategy. PSI focused interventions on the India-Myanmar border where underserved communities of Myanmar face many challenges.
Providers were trained to use a digital reporting app called Malaria Case-Base Reporting (MCBR) and entered their malaria data electronically into the national health management system, so that timely data was available. This helped to improve the reporting and analysis of malaria caseload data.
The project met its target indicators – which included supporting almost 1000 providers - and leveraged its provider channel to access and engage with underserved communities. Following the project, the communities concerned were better able to access quality-assured malaria services with an integrated approach. In 2020, through alternate private donors, PSI continued to strategically support providers in high burden townships that remained at risk for malaria.
Key successes and learnings
Since PSI’s provider presence in their communities, beneficiaries were able to access malaria services quicker and more easily, there is improved knowledge of malaria, and communities seek provider care for malaria as supposed to self-medicate using traditional medicine.
Providers’ supervisors were well-trained and experienced in working with providers’ unique needs either through ad hoc solutions or social behaviour change communications to address the patients’ treatment adherence behaviour.
Providers’ willingness to continue providing malaria testing and treatment was attributed to their self-motivation to contribute to malaria progress in their communities and improve individual patients’ health.
Providers were motivated to continue testing and treating and finding other sources to stock RDTs and ACTs regardless of continued donor support