Retention of malaria knowledge and skills and adherence to National Malaria Treatment Guidelines by integrated community malaria volunteers

Retention of malaria knowledge and skills and adherence to National Malaria Treatment Guidelines by integrated community malaria volunteers in three States/Regions in Myanmar is the focus of a poster presentation by Ni Ni Aye, Aung Thi, Kyawt Mon Win, Thiha Myint Soe, May Oo Khin, Khant Maung Maung, and Saw Naung Naung at the 68th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. They are affiliated with Jhpiego Myanmar PMI Defeat Malaria Project, University Research Co. Myanmar PMI Defeat Malaria Project, and Myanmar National Malaria Control Program.

The PMI-supported Defeat Malaria Project aims to enhance technical and operational capacity of the National Malaria Control Program and providers at all levels of the health system in 3 States/Regions (S/R). In 2017, Myanmar introduced a new type of cadre, Integrated Community Malaria Volunteers (ICMV), as a foundation for integrated malaria control activities at village level.

Defeat Malaria is developing their capacity to ensure malaria case management according to National Treatment Guidelines (NTG). To date, Defeat Malaria has prepared 71 national and S/R level trainers to train and supervise 776 ICMVs caring for a population of nearly 600,000 people.

The study would like to explore the knowledge and technical skills retention of ICMVs working in these three States/Regions and how exactly they follow the national treatment guidelines.  NMCP’s Policy on ICMV notes that Malaria volunteers have been renamed as Integrated Community Malaria Volunteers (ICMV). Their Primary roles are malaria diagnosis, treatment, referral and IEC/BCC activities. They Refer and follow up when other diseases are suspected, including TB, HIV, leprosy, dengue and filariasis.

The Objective of the study was to explore the retention of malaria knowledge and skills of Integrated Community Malaria Volunteers after the training in Kayin and Rakhine States and Taninthary Region.  Also the study explored adherence to National Treatment Guidelines by the Integrated Community Malaria Volunteers in Kayin and Rakhine States and Taninthary Region.

This will be the secondary data analysis of “malaria knowledge and skills retention” using post training follow up tools and checklist during the supported supervision of NMCP conducted jointly with Defeat Malaria team in 2018 -2019 in three state and Region. The study population included 92 ICMVs.

Initial and refresher ICMV trainings included a 5-day modular course for initial ICMV training as well as a 3 days focusing on malaria epidemiology, malaria diagnosis, treatment and referral. There was an IEC/ BCC component focusing on community-based prevention. Another component was a 2-day update on other diseases: TB, HIV, leprosy, dengue and filariasis including referral and follow up of suspected cases.

Another 3-day course for refresher ICMV training one year after initial training was provided. A 2-day session focusing on malaria diagnosis, treatment and referral, case studies and filling register was given. Finally, there was a 1-day update on other diseases.
Improved malaria knowledge among trained ICMVs in two regions (Gwa and Hlaningbwe) was demonstrated. There was reduced gap between pre- and post-test scores at initial vs. refresher training.

Initial training of ICMV and post training assessments of retention of malaria knowledge resulted in 892 ICMV from 14 townships being trained. 54% of ICMV had a passing score (?80%) in pre test for knowledge of malaria. More than 90% of ICMV had a passing score in post test for knowledge of malaria.

Additionally 92 ICMV were followed up after training to assess knowledge of malaria. 42 ICMV were assessed within 6 months after training, and 50 ICMV were assessed after 6 months of training.

Post training assessment of retention of malaria case management skills for ICMV 6 month after training found that 100% of ICMV achieved a passing score using a standardized skills check list during a simulation. Performance improved over the previous year’s 6-month post training assessment in RDT testing. 92% of ICMV told patients about blood testing and provided emotional support, and 100% of ICMV conducted RDT testing according to standardized checklist.

All ICMV disposed of used lancets immediately into safety box after use, and 95% of ICMV gave health education. 90% of ICMV recorded the test result in the main register. 100% of ICMV provide correct treatment according to NTG by using Job Aids. Only 30% of ICMV referred suspected other diseases (TB, leprosy, dengue) with negative RDT to the health centre.

Case management and adherence to NTG by ICMV during supervision period (Oct 2018 – September 2019) also reached 100%.

In conclusion, Supportive supervision, mentoring, and attention to language barriers lead to improved post-training retention of knowledge and skills. 1-6 months after ICMV training, retention of knowledge, skills, and decision making related to malaria case management are high in all 3 States/Regions. >6 months after completing training, knowledge retention and skills on malaria case management of ICMV are less in Rakhine and Tanintharyi Regions. Retention of knowledge and skills of ICMV who received lower scores due to language barriers were improved by mentoring during supervision in Kayin State.

After 6 months, a decline was noted in ICMVs’ communication skills for health education during RDT testing. Since most RDT tests are negative, they must use job aids to recall correct treatment for positive case but are still confused about use of primaquine even with job-aids. All ICMV adhered to NTG for positive cases and negative cases. They referred negative cases suspected of having other disease (TB, leprosy and dengue) to the health center.

Moving forward, tablets will be used to gather data during ICMV mentoring visits to facilitate data accuracy and sharing. Data will be uploaded to NMCP through Google. Project staff will continue to accompany NMCP on supportive supervision visits to ICMVs 1 – 6 months post training to model best practices and lend to sustainability of the approach.

This poster is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of its Cooperative Agreement No. AID-482-A-16-00003 and the USAID Defeat Malaria Project. The contents are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, PMI or the United States Government.

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