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Adams M.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Joshi S.N.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Mbambo G.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Mu A.Z.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | And 14 more authors.
Malaria Journal | Year: 2015

Background: Highly sensitive, scalable diagnostic methods are needed to guide malaria elimination interventions. While traditional microscopy and rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are suitable for the diagnosis of symptomatic malaria infection, more sensitive tests are needed to screen for low-density, asymptomatic infections that are targeted by interventions aiming to eliminate the entire reservoir of malaria infection in humans. Methods: A reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT- PCR) was developed for multiplexed detection of the 18S ribosomal RNA gene and ribosomal RNA of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Simulated field samples stored for 14 days with sample preservation buffer were used to assess the analytical sensitivity and specificity. Additionally, 1750 field samples from Southeastern Myanmar were tested both by RDT and ultrasensitive RT-PCR. Results: Limits of detection (LoD) were determined under simulated field conditions. When 0.3 mL blood samples were stored for 14 days at 28°C and 80 % humidity, the LoD was less than 16 parasites/mL for P. falciparum and 19.7 copies/μL for P. vivax (using a plasmid surrogate), about 10,000-fold lower than RDTs. Of the 1739 samples successfully evaluated by both ultrasensitive RT-PCR and RDT, only two were RDT positive while 24 were positive for P. falciparum, 108 were positive for P. vivax, and 127 were positive for either P. vivax and/or P. falciparum using ultrasensitive RT-PCR. Conclusions: This ultrasensitive RT-PCR method is a robust, field-tested screening method that is vastly more sensitive than RDTs. Further optimization may result in a truly scalable tool suitable for widespread surveillance of low-level asymptomatic P. falciparum and P. vivax parasitaemia. © 2015 Adams et al. Source


Low S.,Community Partners International | Tun K.T.,Community Partners International | Mhote N.P.P.,Burma Medical Association | Mhote N.P.P.,Health Information System Working Group | And 4 more authors.
Global Health Action | Year: 2015

Background: Burma/Myanmar was controlled by a military regime for over 50 years. Many basic social and protection services have been neglected, specifically in the ethnic areas. Development in these areas was led by the ethnic non-state actors to ensure care and the availability of health services for the communities living in the border ethnic-controlled areas. Political changes in Burma/Myanmar have been ongoing since the end of 2010. Given the ethnic diversity of Burma/Myanmar, many challenges in ensuring health service coverage among all ethnic groups lie ahead. Methods: A case study method was used to document how existing human resources for health (HRH) reach the vulnerable population in the ethnic health organizations' (EHOs) and community-based organizations' (CBHOs) service areas, and their related information on training and services delivered. Mixed methods were used. Survey data on HRH, service provision, and training were collected from clinic-in-charges in 110 clinics in 14 Karen/Kayin townships through a rapid-mapping exercise. We also reviewed 7 organizational and policy documents and conducted 10 interviews and discussions with clinic-in-charges. Findings: Despite the lack of skilled medical professionals, the EHOs and CBHOs have been serving the population along the border through task shifting to less specialized health workers. Clinics and mobile teams work in partnership, focusing on primary care with some aspects of secondary care. The rapid-mapping exercise showed that the aggregate HRH density in Karen/Kayin state is 2.8 per 1,000 population. Every mobile team has 1.8 health workers per 1,000 population, whereas each clinic has between 2.5 and 3.9 health workers per 1,000 population. By reorganizing and training theworkforce with a rigorous and up-to-date curriculum, EHOs and CBHOs present a viable solution for improving health service coverage to the underserved population. Conclusion: Despite the chronic conflict in Burma/Myanmar, this report provides evidence of the substantive system of health care provision and access in the Karen/Kayin State over the past 20 years. It underscores the climate of vulnerability of the EHOs and CBHOs due to lack of regional and international understanding of the political complexities in Burma/Myanmar. As Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration gathers pace, this case study highlights potential issues relating to migration and health access. The case also documents the challenge of integrating indigenous and/or cross-border health systems, with the ongoing risk of deepening ethnic conflicts in Burma/Myanmar as the peace process is negotiated. Source


Low S.,Community Partners International | Tun K.T.,Community Partners International | Mhote N.P.,Burma Medical Association | Htoo S.N.,Burma Medical Association | And 3 more authors.
Global health action | Year: 2014

BACKGROUND: Burma/Myanmar was controlled by a military regime for over 50 years. Many basic social and protection services have been neglected, specifically in the ethnic areas. Development in these areas was led by the ethnic non-state actors to ensure care and the availability of health services for the communities living in the border ethnic-controlled areas. Political changes in Burma/Myanmar have been ongoing since the end of 2010. Given the ethnic diversity of Burma/Myanmar, many challenges in ensuring health service coverage among all ethnic groups lie ahead.METHODS: A case study method was used to document how existing human resources for health (HRH) reach the vulnerable population in the ethnic health organizations' (EHOs) and community-based organizations' (CBHOs) service areas, and their related information on training and services delivered. Mixed methods were used. Survey data on HRH, service provision, and training were collected from clinic-in-charges in 110 clinics in 14 Karen/Kayin townships through a rapid-mapping exercise. We also reviewed 7 organizational and policy documents and conducted 10 interviews and discussions with clinic-in-charges.FINDINGS: Despite the lack of skilled medical professionals, the EHOs and CBHOs have been serving the population along the border through task shifting to less specialized health workers. Clinics and mobile teams work in partnership, focusing on primary care with some aspects of secondary care. The rapid-mapping exercise showed that the aggregate HRH density in Karen/Kayin state is 2.8 per 1,000 population. Every mobile team has 1.8 health workers per 1,000 population, whereas each clinic has between 2.5 and 3.9 health workers per 1,000 population. By reorganizing and training the workforce with a rigorous and up-to-date curriculum, EHOs and CBHOs present a viable solution for improving health service coverage to the underserved population.CONCLUSION: Despite the chronic conflict in Burma/Myanmar, this report provides evidence of the substantive system of health care provision and access in the Karen/Kayin State over the past 20 years. It underscores the climate of vulnerability of the EHOs and CBHOs due to lack of regional and international understanding of the political complexities in Burma/Myanmar. As Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration gathers pace, this case study highlights potential issues relating to migration and health access. The case also documents the challenge of integrating indigenous and/or cross-border health systems, with the ongoing risk of deepening ethnic conflicts in Burma/Myanmar as the peace process is negotiated. Source


Parmar P.K.,Harvard University | Benjamin-Chung J.,University of California at Berkeley | Smith L.S.,Community Partners International | Htoo S.N.,Burma Medical Association | And 9 more authors.
BMC International Health and Human Rights | Year: 2014

Background: Myanmar/Burma has received increased development and humanitarian assistance since the election in November 2010. Monitoring the impact of foreign assistance and economic development on health and human rights requires knowledge of pre-election conditions. Methods. From October 2008-January 2009, community-based organizations conducted household surveys using three-stage cluster sampling in Shan, Kayin, Bago, Kayah, Mon and Tanintharyi areas of Myanmar. Data was collected from 5,592 heads of household on household demographics, reproductive health, diarrhea, births, deaths, malaria, and acute malnutrition of children 6-59 months and women aged 15-49 years. A human rights focused survey module evaluated human rights violations (HRVs) experienced by household members during the previous year. Results: Estimated infant and under-five rates were 77 (95% CI 56 to 98) and 139 (95% CI 107 to 171) deaths per 1,000 live births; and the crude mortality rate was 13 (95% CI 11 to 15) deaths per thousand persons. The leading respondent-reported cause of death was malaria, followed by acute respiratory infection and diarrhea, causing 21.2% (95% CI 16.5 to 25.8), 16.6% (95% CI 11.8 to 21.4), and 12.3% (95% CI 8.7 to 15.8), respectively. Over a third of households suffered at least one human rights violation in the preceding year (36.2%; 30.7 to 41.7). Household exposure to forced labor increased risk of death among infants (rate ratio (RR) = 2.2; 95% CI 1.1 to 4.4) and children under five (RR = 2.1; 95% CI 1.3 to 3.6). The proportion of children suffering from moderate to severe acute malnutrition was higher among households that were displaced (prevalence ratio (PR) = 3.3; 95% CI 1.9 to 5.6). Conclusions: Prior to the 2010 election, populations of eastern Myanmar experienced high rates of disease and death and high rates of HRVs. These population-based data provide a baseline that can be used to monitor national and international efforts to improve the health and human rights situation in the region. © 2014 Parmar et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source


Parmar P.K.,Harvard University | Barina C.C.,Community Partners International | Barina C.C.,University of Washington | Low S.,Community Partners International | And 14 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Background: Myanmar transitioned to a nominally civilian parliamentary government in March 2011. Qualitative reports suggest that exposure to violence and displacement has declined while international assistance for health services has increased. An assessment of the impact of these changes on the health and human rights situation has not been published. Methods and Findings: Five community-based organizations conducted household surveys using two-stage cluster sampling in five states in eastern Myanmar from July 2013-September 2013. Data was collected from 6, 178 households on demographics, mortality, health outcomes, water and sanitation, food security and nutrition, malaria, and human rights violations (HRV). Among children aged 6-59 months screened, the prevalence of global acute malnutrition (representing moderate or severe malnutrition) was 11.3% (8.0 - 14.7). A total of 250 deaths occurred during the year prior to the survey. Infant deaths accounted for 64 of these (IMR 94.2; 95% CI 66.5-133.5) and there were 94 child deaths (U5MR 141.9; 95% CI 94.8-189.0). 10.7% of households (95% CI 7.0-14.5) experienced at least one HRV in the past year, while four percent reported 2 or more HRVs. Household exposure to one or more HRVs was associated with moderate-severe malnutrition among children (14.9 vs. 6.8%; prevalence ratio 2.2, 95% CI 1.2-4.2). Household exposure to HRVs was associated with self-reported fair or poor health status among respondents (PR 1.3; 95% CI 1.1 - 1.5). Conclusion: This large survey of health and human rights demonstrates that two years after political transition, vulnerable populations of eastern Myanmar are less likely to experience human rights violations compared to previous surveys. However, access to health services remains constrained, and risk of disease and death remains higher than the country as a whole. Efforts to address these poor health indicators should prioritize support for populations that remain outside the scope of most formal government and donor programs. © 2015 Parmar et al. Source

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