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Myanmar has a large majority of all malaria in the Greater Mekong Subregion. In the past decade, substantial progress was made in malaria control. The residual burden of malaria is in remote areas where currently recommended malaria elimination approaches are generally not feasible. In such hard-to-reach communities in Mon state, East Myanmar, Medical Action Myanmar introduced community health workers (CHWs) to deliver early diagnosis and treatment for malaria. We conducted a retrospective analysis to assess the impact of this intervention. This retrospective analysis involved data collected routinely from a CHW programme in Mon state conducted between 2011 and 2018. A network of 172 CHWs serving a population of 236,340 was deployed. These CHWs carried out 260,201 malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) to investigate patients with acute febrile illness. The median blood examination rate was 1.33%; interquartile range (IQR) (0.38 to 3.48%); 95% CI [1.28%, 1.36%] per month. The changes in malaria incidence and prevalence in patients presenting with fever were assessed using negative binomial regression mixed effects models fitted to the observed data. The incidence of Plasmodium falciparum malaria (including mixed infections) declined by 70%; 95% CI [65%, 75%]; p < 0.001 for each year of CHW operation. The incidence of P. vivax malaria declined by 56%; 95% CI [50%, 62%]; p < 0.001 per year. Malaria RDT positivity rates for P. falciparum and P. vivax declined by 69%; 95% CI [62%, 75%]; p < 0.001 and 53%; 95% CI [47%, 59%]; p < 0.001 per year, respectively. Between 2017 and 2018, only 1 imported P. falciparum case was detected in 54,961 RDTs. The main limitations of the study are use of retrospective data with possible unidentified confounders and uncharacterised population movement. The introduction of CHWs providing community-based malaria diagnosis and treatment and basic health care services in remote communities in Mon state was associated with a substantial reduction in malaria. Within 6 years, P. falciparum was eliminated and the incidence of P. vivax fell markedly.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS medicine

Publication Date





Medical Action Myanmar, Yangon, Myanmar.