Seventy percent of Myanmar’s children under 5 live in rural areas and are therefore highly susceptible to diarrheal disease, pneumonia and other acute respiratory illnesses, which are the primary causes of death among children under 5 in the country. Dug wells, tube wells, ponds, rivers and streams are the main sources of drinking water in Myanmar, leading to high consumption of contaminated water.
To combat the devastating effects of these diseases on children, PSI/Myanmar established a network of quality health care providers known as the Sun Quality Health franchise network. While the network was initially established to offer family planning services, it has since begun focusing on other priority diseases in the country, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. Members of the Sun Quality Health network are licensed general practitioners who work full-time in their clinics to serve low-income populations and are trained in accordance with national and international guidelines.
PSI also established a second network in Myanmar to increase geographic coverage through increased rural penetration. This new network, called the Sun Primary Health network, is composed of trained village health workers who are linked to existing franchises within its sister network, Sun Quality Health.
Through these networks, PSI/Myanmar is able to reach significant numbers of people in urban and rural areas with life-saving products, services and information that help keep children and their families alive. In the two years since the networks began to address pneumonia, PSI/Myanmar trained 767 doctors in urban areas and 788 community health workers in rural areas in pneumonia treatment.
Even more doctors were trained to provide diarrheal disease treatment. Medical drug retailers were trained in diarrhea management, and a total of 324 retailers to date are distributing diarrhea treatment kits. Once trained, all providers receive reference manuals and other support materials.
In addition, PSI/Myanmar has implemented a household water treatment program to encourage the target populations to treat their drinking water, helping them to avoid harmful waterborne diseases. In 2008, PSI/Myanmar ensured that the household water treatment solution WaterGuard was available at a total of 2,435 outlets in 238 townships.
The Right Treatment
Distributing effective treatment for pneumonia and diarrheal disease in Myanmar is critical. A child in Myanmar is estimated to have seven episodes of acute respiratory infections each year and only 15 percent of the population accesses drinking water from a piped source.
The pneumonia treatment package that PSI distributes in Myanmar contains the optimal quantity for a one-course treatment, in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF Acute Respiratory Illness Guidelines for Developing Countries. The treatment is user-friendly with pre-packaged dispersible tablets and flavored antibiotics. For diarrhea, the branded Orasel KIT contains a proven combination of one dose of dispersible zinc tablets (10 dispersible tablets of 20 mg each) and two sachets of low-osmolarity oral rehydration salts, as recommended by WHO and UNICEF. This treatment is distributed through the Sun Quality Health network as well as retail and wholesale channels.
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Country: Myanmar, Asia / Pacific
Health Areas: Child Survival, Diarrheal Disease, Pneumonia