Malaria services for Myanmar's most hard to reach populations

Artemisinin and its derivatives are currently the most effective drugs to treat Plasmodium falciparum malaria, a protozoan parasite that has already showed resistance to other antimalarials. However, artemisinin is also showing decreased efficacy because of drug resistance.

Although available information shows that artemisinin resistance is still confined to the Greater Mekong Sub-Region, the problem poses a global threat. Efforts to contain this problem have been initiated, but resistance containment activities need to be intensified to effectively halt the spread of artemisinin resistant malaria

Myanmar has been affected by artemisinin resistant malaria since 2009. In 2010 studies were conducted in four states/regions in Myanmar to assess the efficacy of two artemisinin combination therapies (ACT). The results showed case detections of parasitaemia in three states after ACT treatment and indicates that the highest risk of Artemisinin resistance is confined to the eastern part of Myanmar bordering Thailand.

Burnet Institute and Karuna Myanmar Social Services (KMSS) collaborated with local health authorities and the informal private health sector to deliver malaria prevention, early diagnosis, quality treatment, behaviour change and communication services to local, mobile and internally displaced populations that are geographically and socially isolated.

Burnet and KMSS worked closely with the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and the Department of Health to deliver strategic priorities at regional and township level. Project sites were selected in response to the malaria service gap identified by the NMCP. Priority areas were isolated and cut-off villages as well as the most hard to reach territories that lack adequate services.

Photo: A village health volunteer from Burnet Institute Myanmar malaria program gets involved with hands-on training for testing with RDT.

The project addressed these objectives at both regional and township level:

  • Improve access to early diagnosis and quality treatment according to the national treatment guidelines
  • Limit the transmission of malaria by mosquito control and personal protection
  • Increase migrant/mobile population’s access to malaria diagnosis, treatment and vector control measures
  • Support the containment of artemisinin resistant parasites through advocacy and behaviour change
  • Provide effective management at regional and township level to enable high quality implementation of strategies.

The project also supported and facilitated a stronger TB referral system to the National Tuberculosis Program (NTP).

Burnet undertook a needs assessment, planning and monitoring and evaluation in collaboration with NMCP and township health departments as key counterparts.


April 2014 - December 2015


  • Karuna Myanmar Social Services (KMSS)
  • National Malaria Control Program (NMCP)
  • Township health departments


3 Millennium Development Goals Fund

Health Issue

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Doctor Phone Myint Win

Country Representative, Myanmar


[email protected]