Expanding rural communities' access to health services in Myanmar
The project will strengthen support for volunteers to further develop their skills, improve the ability of basic health staff to provide the necessary supervision, and address shortage of stocks for rapid diagnostic tests and medicines.
The scale-up specifically seeks to:
- provide evidence on the most effective approaches for training and supervising malaria volunteers so that they improve their case management and behaviour change communication (BCC) skills
- determine the motivating factors for retaining the volunteer status of malaria volunteers
- improve the quality of testing using malaria rapid diagnostic tests and treatment services provided by malaria volunteers
- improve basic health staff’s skills around supervision, BCC and data quality assessment
- build communities’ participation in iCCM, and increase demand for and access to quality services for malaria and common childhood illnesses among children under five
- improve supply chain management
- strengthen community and private sector Health Management Information System reporting for malaria.
Rural communities in western Myanmar are often poorly served by the country’s public health system. To increase the provision of health services in rural areas and to ‘fill the gaps’ in the formal healthcare system, in 2016–2017 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, as well as screen for malnutrition. Findings from this pilot showed that malaria volunteers could help to improve access to care for common childhood illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and malnutrition.
Building upon the success of this pilot, Malaria Consortium is scaling up the approach from three to six townships in Sagaing region.