Are village health volunteers as good as basic health staffs in providing malaria care? A country wide analysis from Myanmar, 2015

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Abstract

Background: Malaria is one of the major public health problems in Myanmar. Village health volunteers (VHV) are the key malaria diagnosis and treatment service provider at community level in addition to basic health staffs (BHS). This countrywide analysis aimed to assess and compare the accessibility to- and quality of malaria care (treatment initiation, treatment within 24 h and complete treatment delivery) between VHV and BHS in Myanmar. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study using record review of routinely collected programme data available in electronic format. All patients with undifferentiated fever screened and diagnosed for malaria in January-December 2015 by VHV and BHS under National Malaria Control Programme in Myanmar were included in the study. Unadjusted and adjusted prevalence ratios (aPR) were calculated to assess the effect of VHV/BHS on receipt of treatment by patients. Results: Of 978,735 undifferentiated fever patients screened in 2015, 11.0% of patients were found malaria positive and the malaria positivity in VHV and BHS group were 11.1 and 10.9% respectively. Access to malaria care: higher proportion of children aged 5-14 years (21.8% vs 17.3%) and females (43.7% vs 41.8%) with fever were screened for malaria by VHV compared to BHS. However, the same for children aged < 5 years was 2.2% lower in VHV group compared to BHS. Quality of malaria care: the proportion of malaria cases that received treatment was 96.6 and 94.9; treatment initiation within 24 h of fever was 44.7 and 34.1; and, complete treatment delivery was 80.9 and 88.2, respectively, in VHV and BHS groups. After adjustment for potential confounders, patients with malaria provided care by VHV had 1.02 times higher chance of receiving treatment compared to BHS [aPR (95% confidence interval) 1.017 (1.015, 1.020)]. Conclusions: The VHV were more accessible to children and women than BHS in providing malaria screening services. The malaria treatment services provided by VHV was as good as BHS. Further qualitative research to explore and address the challenges on initiation and delivering complete treatment by VHV including inventory assessment and cost-effectiveness studies on integration of VHV in routine health system are needed.

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Linn, N. Y. Y., Kathirvel, S., Das, M., Thapa, B., Rahman, M. M., Maung, T. M., … Lin, Z. (2018). Are village health volunteers as good as basic health staffs in providing malaria care? A country wide analysis from Myanmar, 2015. Malaria Journal, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12936-018-2384-4

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