Mekong IEC Projects for Ethnic Minorities
ADB/WHO Project Update
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreed to provide further financial support through WHO WPRO to the GMS countries, through the Project Strengthening Malaria Control for Ethnic Minorities in the GMS. The Project put emphasis to enhance national capacity to improve health among ethnic minority and hard-to-reach populations related to malaria prevention and control. The Project goal aims to reduce malaria burden among poor ethnic minority groups living in malaria-prone areas with specific objectives as follows: (1) build capacity of national malaria institutions to develop acceptable, affordable and effective strategies for malaria control for ethnic minorities; (2) scale-up malaria control efforts for these populations through NMCPs; and (3) promote regional collaboration for malaria control.
The Inception and first Advisory Committee Meeting of this Project was held on 25- 26 November 2005 in Vientiane, Lao PDR to (1) introduce and adopt the Strengthening Malaria Control for Ethnic Minorities in the GMS Project; (2) discuss the expected project outcomes and the project implementation schedule; and (3) discuss the monitoring and evaluation indicators and plan. The second Advisory Committee Meeting and Qualitative and Quantitative research methodologies training workshop was organized in collaboration with the VBDC, MOH, Thailand from 8 to 18 March 2006 in Chiang Mai, where all the GMS country teams finalized and approved the countries' project proposals and plans, and technical team members developed protocols for the baseline studies.
In project pilot areas, the six GMS member countries collected baseline data (pre-intervention household surveys and qualitative interviews) during July - September 2006, on malaria cases, bednet use, knowledge and practices of the population regarding malaria prevention and control and perceptions of local health care services. Choosing a village-based approach, trainings were held for village volunteers on the implementation of various malaria control measures including use of rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) and artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), IEC interventions and mobilization of communities, bednet distribution, and monitoring the project's progress; and for health staff to provide supervision in order to strengthen local capacity to provide effective malaria control.
At the peripheral level, health staff and volunteers gathered data on a monthly basis to document project activities and outcomes. In order to monitor the progress of implementation regular supervisory visits by the country-level teams were planned, including monthly meetings with supervisors and district staff.
Through strengthening local capacity in project planning, implementation, mobilizing communities and monitoring and supervision, preliminary results from the country-level monthly monitoring data showed that the malaria situation in the targeted villages had improved, as compared to baseline data from the same villages. For example, the malaria positivity rate in fever cases decreased from 62% to 38% in Cambodia; from 15.2% to 11.7% in Lao PDR; from 14.8% to 0.7% in Thailand; and from 7.19% to 3.24% in Yunnan Province, China. Bednet utilization rate has increased in all countries, for example: from 62% to 100% in Cambodia; from 16.11% to 77.71 in China; from 88.6% to 96% in Lao PDR; and from 91.8% to 98% in Vietnam.
Now a post-intervention survey has been conducted. The post intervention data will be compared to the baseline data as well as to the project targets set by each country in order to measure progress including behavior change and impact on malaria situation and thus measure project achievements.
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