With all hands on deck to fight Malaria, eradication is possible

Perspectives

Myanmar has seen a dramatic decline in malaria cases from about 600,000 cases and 972 deaths in 2009 to 76,518 cases and 19 deaths in 2018, according to statistics provided by the Ministry of Health and Sports.
It has been found that 64 per cent of malaria cases in Myanmar were reported from mainly 12 townships. To achieve our dream of malaria eradication by 2030, current technologies, human resources, and funding must be used more effectively and new ways to tackle the disease must be developed.
For fighting not only malaria, but also other mosquito-borne diseases, surveillance and information systems play a crucial role. This shows the importance of private hospitals and clinics and how reporting malaria cases to the health authorities is a must for eradicating the disease.
To improve surveillance and data collection, and to speed up information sharing, all departments concerned with fighting mosquito-borne diseases must set up telephone hotlines, and health authorities at the region, state, and township level must take part in the information sharing network.
At the same time, the participation of people is very important in fighting diseases.
The authorities are urged to step up efforts to raise awareness and educate people about mosquito-borne diseases and ways to prevent mosquito breeding in populated areas. People, on their part, must use insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
With the use of mobile tablets distributed by the Ministry of Health and Sports, the public health staff’s knowledge and capability of fighting mosquito-borne diseases must be improved. Training must be given to health volunteers to ensure they are effective in fighting diseases by joining hands with the ministry staff.
Applied research on eliminating mosquitoes should be carried out with the ministries to check whether modern techniques for killing mosquitoes, piloted in some countries, are suitable for Myanmar or not.
In fact, key weapons in the malaria battle are weakening, with the parasite developing resistance to insecticides and currently available treatments.
Now is the time to bring more speed and precision to our malaria response, improve systems for tracking its spread, and optimize delivery of treatments and preventive measures.
With the promise of potential new drugs and all hands on deck to fight the disease, the possibility of eradicating malaria is closer within reach than ever before.

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