Promoting community malaria control in rural Myanmar through an active community participation program using the participatory learning approach
Citation: Maung C, Sein T, Hlaing T, Okanurak K, Silawan T, Kaewkungwal J. Promoting community malaria control in rural Myanmar through an active community participation program using the participatory learning approach. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2017; 17: 4130. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=4130 (Accessed 25 September 2017)
Introduction: Malaria is prevalent in more than 80% of townships in Myanmar. The National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) has been implementing community-based malaria control programs nationwide. However, these programs are mostly developed and directed by health authorities, while communities are passively involved. This study aimed to increase community participation in malaria control and promote community malaria control knowledge and practice in rural Myanmar.Key words: community participation, community volunteer, malaria control, Myanmar, participatory learning.
Methods: A community-based study, which employed a mixed method approach, collecting data quantitatively and qualitatively, was conducted in two rural villages. The study implemented an active community participation program (ACPP) using the participatory learning approach in a village (ACPP village) but only routine malaria control was given in another village (non-ACPP village). All households with 142 and 96 household representatives from ACPP and non-ACPP villages participated in baseline and endline surveys. The ACPP was evaluated by process and outcome indicators. A spider gram analysis using five process indicators was applied to evaluate the process of the ACPP. Community participation status in malaria control activities and level of community malaria knowledge and practice were determined as outcomes of the ACPP.
Results: The spider gram analysis showed that three indicators (needs assessment and planning, leadership and resource mobilization) gained a score of 4, the organization indicator a score of 5 and the management and evaluation indicator a score of 3. The outcome indicators of the program at 6 months showed that the community participation in malaria control activities in the ACPP village had significantly increased (6.9% to 49.3%) (p<0.001). The program promoted community malaria control knowledge and practice in the ACPP village. The mean scores of knowledge, perception, preventive behavior and treatment-seeking behavior were increased significantly, from 3.0 to 5.9 (p<0.001), 20.1 to 21.0 (p<0.001), 3.4 to 4.2 (p<0.001) and 3.1 to 5.6 (p<0.001), respectively. However, no significant change of outcome indicators was found in the non-ACPP village.
Conclusions: The ACPP implemented by community volunteers using the participatory learning approach was feasible in community-based malaria control. This study suggests several features in the ACPP model that may be useful strategies for the implementation of the current NMCP programs in similar rural settings; however, the effect of the ACPP over a longer period to ascertain the impact of such community participation has yet to be further studied.
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