November 28, 2019
By Julia Cutts
In August this year, I was supported by an ACREME travel grant to travel to Myanmar to share the results of a clinical trial we conducted to test the effectiveness of mosquito repellent delivered by village health volunteers on reducing malaria incidence in hard-to-reach villages. The stepped-wedge cluster randomized controlled trial was performed in 114 villages in South-East Myanmar, and was designed and conducted by the Burnet Institute (Melbourne and Yangon teams) in partnership with the Myanmar National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and implementation partner Karuna Mission Social Solidarity.
This trip provided an important opportunity for myself and the study’s Principal Investigator Freya Fowkes, to communicate the results of the trial to malaria policy makers and those directly involved in designing malaria control and elimination programs in the region, including the National Malaria Control Program and local non-governmental organizations. This was a very different experience to presenting results at a conference, because the audience was comprised of those at the coal-face of malaria control, rather than academics.
During the week in Myanmar we met with the Director General of the Myanmar Department of Medical research and discussed opportunities for collaboration with the ACREME network, including research and training priorities.
As Myanmar transitions from a malaria control phase to a malaria elimination phase, the demand will intensify for effective interventions targeting residual transmission not covered by existing interventions like insecticide-treated nets.