Between 2012 and 2020, Myanmar (Burma) made extraordinary gains against malaria. The number of confirmed cases fell by almost 88% and the reported number of deaths fell by 98%. In 2020, only 10 deaths in Myanmar were officially attributed to malaria. This was the result of a coordinated multi-stakeholder prevention, control and elimination strategy supported by sustained local and international investment. But these gains are now under threat due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the February 2021 coup.
Since 2012, Myanmar has made extraordinary gains against malaria. The confirmed number of malaria cases declined by 85% between 2012 and 2018, and the reported number of deaths by 95%. In 2018, only 19 deaths in Myanmar were officially attributed to malaria (1). However, the continued presence of malaria in remote and under-served communities, and the emergence of Myanmar as a hotspot of multidrug resistance, mean that we must guard against complacency. With support from the Access to Health Fund, Community Partners International (CPI) is working closely with community partners and other stakeholders to eliminate pockets of multidrug-resistant malaria through mobile mass screening in 10 prioritized townships in Kayin and Mon States in southeastern Myanmar, as part of an integrated package of health services.
U Saw Paw Khwar's young son was successfully treated for malaria. Then U Saw Paw Khwar was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) and needed treatment. As malaria prevalence rates decline rapidly in southeastern Myanmar due to successful control and elimination efforts, community-based health workers are now supporting initiatives to tackle other infectious diseases such as TB.
Naw Poe lives with her husband and two-year-old son in Hsar Pwel Htar, a remote village in Myanmar’s Tanintharyi Region in the southeast of the country. The village has no health clinic. The nearest one is about two hours drive by motorbike across difficult terrain. During the monsoon season, the dirt tracks that connect villages are often impassable.