A project staffer tests a digital health mobile application that provides real-time information reporting. Photo credit: Dr. Zwe Thu Htun, URC

Malaria Surveillance and Laboratory Quality Assurance Program

The Challenge

Myanmar faces challenges in preventing, controlling, and monitoring the spread of malaria across the country. Surveillance and laboratory testing need to be strengthened to move toward malaria elimination.

Many of Myanmar’s most vulnerable populations, including migrant and mobile populations such as seasonal workers, travel across the border with Thailand and contribute to the regional spread of drug-resistant malaria. Capturing accurate and complete malaria data for these hard-to-reach, vulnerable populations for national malaria control efforts is not easy. Village malaria workers have not had adequate access to training on national-level malaria information systems, and data capture is often incomplete. A further challenge occurs with laboratory-based malaria diagnosis and testing due to limited or broken equipment.

Overview and Objectives

URC worked with Myanmar’s Ministry of Health to strengthen its data management systems for malaria surveillance and diagnosis. The program worked with the National Malaria Program and National Health Laboratory and supported the Ministry of Health to roll out the updated systems in Mon State and Sagaing Region and conduct associated trainings. The project:

  • Strengthened data management systems for malaria surveillance and laboratory diagnostic quality assurance approaches;
  • Increased access to malaria prevention, testing, and treatment for migrant and mobile populations; and
  • Strengthened regional coordination on malaria and communicable disease control.

Achievements

URC successfully supported Myanmar’s Ministry of Health’s updated data management and laboratory diagnostic quality assurance system improvement and rollout. And a mobile data management system is now used as part of the malaria surveillance system, enabling remote surveillance and control efforts to be captured and integrated into the national system. Health worker reporting was strengthened with routine supervisory monitoring and evaluation visits to all targeted townships. URC’s efforts strengthened malaria data management on a national scale and facilitated the capture of remote data, including from migrant and mobile populations.

URC developed standard operating procedures for malaria microscopy, trained laboratory technicians on the procedures, and produced a laboratory quality assurance manual. Laboratory equipment and materials were provided or updated at the National Health Laboratory and 10 target hospitals. Overall, the project successfully strengthened malaria diagnosis and testing on a national scale.

Duration
2016–2018

Countries
Myanmar

Regions
Asia

Expertise
Digital Health, Health Workforce, Malaria, Quality Health Systems, and Vulnerable Populations

Funders
Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Partners