UNICEF-supported community volunteer training and prevention activities help control malaria in high risk areas
By Dr. Thet Wai Hlaing
Kyaikhto Township, Mon State, Myanmar, 19 June 2013: Lwe Zar Thin, 45, is one of the health volunteers who received five-day intensive training on prevention and treatment of malaria in Thit Seint Kone village, which used be to a malaria high risk area in Mon State.
Following the training, in October 2011, she committed to work as a volunteer to fight against malaria in her community. Now there are 25 malaria volunteers working in the village.
Majority of villagers are living on rubber plantation, or in growing ground nut, sesame and paddy. Some work in the Myawaddy Trading Zone along Myanmar-Thai border or in the gold mines in the nearby areas.
Midwives make monthly supervisory visits to support trained volunteers. Township and state level officials also make quarterly visits to the villages to monitor, support and improve malaria prevention activities as necessarily.
Every febrile case from her village consults Lwe Zar, and she helps them get malaria test and appropriate treatment. On an average she handles 10 to15 malaria patients every month. “We are use rapid diagnostic test kits and anti-malaria drugs,” said Lwe Zar Thin.
Every month she finds at least one to three malaria parasite cases from those who are working in the gold mines and migrant workers working along Thai-Myanmar border. “Fortunately, the number of malaria cases in my village is dropping,” added Lwe Zar, “In spite of my years of experience as auxiliary midwife, I gained knowledge and confidence in dealing with malaria patients after receiving the UNICEF-supported intensive training and having worked as a malaria volunteer.”