Frontline Stories

How a Burmese Woman Saves Lives from Malaria

Malaria is preventable and curable. However, malaria caused an estimated 584,000 deaths in 2013; 78% of malaria deaths occurred in children aged under five.

Due to insufficient health knowledge and services, many families have suffered; especially poor families who have lost loved ones from malaria. In Myanmar, villagers in Naw’s village often say that they could have saved their loves ones if they had met World Vision earlier.

In order to promote preventative behaviour among those in high-risk areas, World Vision introduced skills and training sessions for village health volunteers on prevention and treatments related to malaria.

Naw, a mother of three, is always busy with house chores and her business. Naw earns income from selling groceries and her home sewing business. She lives with her family in a small village in Myanmar.

Because of her passionate and active participation in community development work, Naw was selected as a village health volunteer in her community. ''I love volunteering for my village. I worry that if we don’t have a health volunteer in our village, then no one could educate us about malaria,'' shares Naw.

After she received training, she gained confidence and learned to conduct malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDT), discussions in behaviour change communications (BCC) groups, and treat bed nets with insecticide tablets. Naw says, ''When I go and facilitate BCC group discussions, I leave my shop with my neighbours to look after or sometimes I just close my shop.''

Naw never pauses to reach families whenever she is informed of suspected malaria cases, even if it is far from her home and village. ''Village roads are bad especially in rainy season. But I try to reach suspected cases to conduct RDT test, even by boat, motorbike, and sometimes a long walk to the target village,'' says Naw.

Last year, Naw visited 183 suspected cases, which were examined with RDTs. Among them, 16 were diagnosed as malaria positive patients. They recovered quickly after receiving proper treatment and being monitored regularly.

"I am really satisfied with my work, especially when I see people recovered from malaria and can work again for their families. I can save lives with the support of World Vision,'' says Naw, ''It was my pleasure to care and support malaria patients especially poor people.''

"I have made a lot of friends. I am very happy to serve with World Vision and very grateful to the donors for their support,'' shares Naw.

''Before, I did not see many people sleeping with bed nets,'' Naw says, ''But now I notice that families use mosquito nets when sleeping at night and malaria cases are reducing as well.''

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