- WHY CARE ABOUT BURMA?
- WHO WE ARE
In addition to recording the second most malaria deaths of any country in Southeast Asia, Burma / Myanmar has historically been a regional epicenter of spreading resistance to vital anti-malarial drugs. The situation is worst in ethnic areas in the eastern, western and northern border regions, which receive little or no government health services and are inaccessible to large-scale international efforts. These regions are populated with displaced and vulnerable communities and rife with fake anti-malaria drugs, contributing to a growing reservoir of infection and a “perfect storm” of conditions to encourage increasing resistance to key artemisinin-based drugs.
In eastern Burma, our partners have conducted the only peer-reviewed surveys in this inaccessible region, demonstrating that malaria accounts for nearly half of all deaths, with a disproportionate impact on children and pregnant women: Nearly 15% of children will die before their fifth birthday, one-third from malaria, and malaria is the leading cause of maternal anemia, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth weight.
Through Community Partners International's health branch, the Global Health Access Program, we pioneered a community-led response to controlling malaria: A small team of medics from our local partner, the Karen Department of Health and Welfare (KDHW), piloted a malaria prevention and treatment program a handful of villages in conflict-affected eastern Burma.
That pilot had striking results, reducing malaria by as much as 80 percent in some villages. Today, our Malaria Control Program reaches 375,000 villagers in the western, northern, eastern and central regions.
Our Malaria Control Program has dramatically increased access to proven preventive and curative malaria interventions, including early diagnosis, community education, treatment with gold-standard anti-malarial drugs, distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets and establishing a surveillance network for monitoring anti-malarial drug resistance in Burma’s border regions. With significant potential to scale-up to meet Burma’s rising malaria control needs, our program provides a sustainable and affordable solution to malaria control with substantial reductions in transmission, morbidity and mortality.
Community Partners also provides support and technical assistance to help local organizations address rising rates of Tuberculosis and Lymphatic Filariasis in eastern Burma:
With 97,000 new cases of TB detected each year, Burma is on the World Health Organization’s list of high-burden countries. Access to care can be extremely difficult, particularly in the rural and border regions, and villagers — many of them displaced within Burma — slowly suffer with the disease, unknowingly spreading it to their own children and community.
CPI has helped design and support a pioneering TB program managed by community-based health workers, offering up to 20,000 displaced villagers in eastern Burma unprecedented access to TB education, screening and directly-observed-therapy treatment.
While Thailand has eliminated the disfiguring mosquito-borne Lymphatic Filariasis (also known as Elephantiasis), millions of people remain at risk of infection in Burma. CPI’s pilot program in eastern Burma provides community education about prevention, transmission, and disease management, as well as screening, medication and preventive treatment to thousands of villagers.