Myanmar is making major progress toward its goal of eliminating malaria in the country by 2030, in part because of US support, according to the US Embassy.
In just six years, the number of reported malaria cases has dropped by 86 percent nationwide. In 2012, when U.S. support began under the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), there were 481,204 malaria cases across the country. By October 2018, the number of cases had dropped to 68,753, according to a press release issued 17 May.
U.S. Ambassador Scot Marciel told a group of Myanmar health professionals today, “I am proud of the progress that Myanmar has made, with U.S. support, to reduce malaria in the country.” He added, “I have visited several villages around the country and met health workers and community members who use the mosquito nets and treatments that the United States provides. The support from USAID and CDC, and the outstanding work of health workers around the country on malaria elimination, has yielded remarkable results.”
Dr. Patricia Graves, a leading international expert on malaria, conducted an analysis of the main factors that have led to dramatic progress on malaria reduction in Myanmar. In October, Graves completed a study of the reduction in malaria cases in Rakhine and Kayin States and Tanintharyi Region, supported by USAID. She said, “Ten years ago, Myanmar had the highest malaria burden among the six countries of the Greater Mekong sub-region. Now, the country is well on the way to achieving its goal of malaria elimination by 2030.”
Ambassador Marciel and Dr. Graves addressed a group of Myanmar and health professionals and partners today, including experts from the University of Public Health, the Myanmar Private Hospital Association, and Parami Hospital, who gathered at American Center Yangon to discuss emerging health issues in Myanmar.
With U.S. support in 2018:
- More than one million people at risk for malaria have received access to improved healthcare in approximately 2,500 villages in Rakhine State, Kayin State, and Tanintharyi Region;
- Health workers in these areas tested more than 200,000 people for malaria;
- Community health workers treated 3,700 positive malaria cases with effective antimalarials;
- Health workers worked with village leaders and communities to distribute more than 100,000 mosquito nets to prevent malaria infection in the hard-to-reach areas where
- communities are most at risk;
- Field epidemiologists and government health professionals gained skills and advanced expertise to strengthen malaria surveillance and malaria interventions; and
- International experts worked with the government to help detect more difficult-to-treat malaria strains.
These efforts are part of the approximately $32 million each year the United States invests in improving the health of people in Myanmar.