Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Five malaria-free regions by 2020

The Public Health Department is aiming to make five regions free from malaria by 2020, which will also help the government achieve its goal to eliminate the mosquito-borne disease nationwide by 2030.

Dr Win Lwin Regional Director of Public Health Department said the incidence of malaria has declined in Yangon over the last 5 years.

In 2011, there were 2,074 malaria cases and 4 death but dropped to 52 cases with zero death in 2016 in Yangon Region, according to Yangon Regional Public Health Department.

“Early detection is an important strategy to respond to the disease. The incidence and death rate reduced due to implementing the (early detection) strategy and collaboration with all related organisations and the public,” he said on Sunday.

He added that “Although malaria control program will cover all townships but it has been mainly implemented in 11 townships that are malaria high-risk areas in the region. The main prevention of malaria is to prevent mosquito bites, especially at night,” said Dr Win Lwin

Eights townships from southern district of Yanogn and Hmawbi, Tikeyi and Hlaegu townships are exposed to malaria in Yanogn Region. More than 300 aid workers, equipped with rapid diagnostic tools, are deployed in Yangon Region to combat the disease.

Dr Aye Mon Mon Kyaw, assistant director of Yangon Public Health Department, told The Myanmar Times that more than 10 cases were reported this year so far.

She added that the region will be free from malaria if incidences can be reduced (to less than 1 case per 1000 population) during next three consecutive years.

“Please inform the health department if a person is found to have malaria symptoms in the community. The chances of infection can be control if medication is taken immediately. So, cooperation from related organisations and the public is very important.”

Health official have been distributing insecticide-treated mosquito nets and clothing, as well as spray repellents to combat malaria in townships. diagnostic kit

Dr Thar Tun Kyaw, regional director of the Medical Services, Yangon Region said malaria related cases had dropped significantly and there was zero malaria death since 2015.

“There will be many townships with zero death nationwide. The ministry is trying to stop transmission of malaria (flaciparum ) in five regions by 2020.”

Anti-malaria campaigns will be implemented in various regions – Yangon, Ayeyarwaddy, Bago, Mandalay and Magwe – to eliminate malaria by 2020, according to the department.

Awareness among health experts concerning the spread of artemisinin-resistant malaria along the Myanmar borders has increased. Despite the aggressive campaigns by the health officials to curb malaria, the disease still remains a major public health challenge.

The country recorded over 400,000 malaria cases in 2011 but the number reduced to 200,000 in 2014.

According to the World Health Organization’s report in 2016, approximately 16 percent of the population or 8.5 million people in Myanmar are still exposed to high risk of malaria.