Background: Myanmar has targeted Plasmodium falciparum malaria elimination by 2025 and all human malaria elimination by 2030. Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic could jeopardize the current gains. The objective of the study is to assess the impact of COVID-19 on epidemiology and malaria services in Myanmar.
Methods: This is cross sectional study using retrospective routine programme data reported by Ministry of Health and Sports (for COVID-19) and National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) (for malaria) during January – September 2019 and 2020.
Results: Myanmar implemented whole of society COVID-19 response since its first 2 cases were detected on 23 March 2020. NMCP mobilized US$ 7 mil to support, protect and mitigate COVID-19 impact on malaria through implementation of tailored guidelines, job aids and risk communication materials starting April 2020. Front line health workers were protected through supplies of surgical masks, hand sanitizer, aprons, gloves, non-contact digital thermometers among others. During January-September 2020, reported malaria cases, severe cases and deaths declined by 11%, 34% and 27%, respectively in the same period in 2019. Total P. falciparum cases declined by 55% with minimal increase in tests (0.14%). 80% of cases and 98% of foci were investigated in 2020 in comparison to 68% and 54% in 2019, respectively (p<0.05). In 2020, NMCP distributed 72% of the targeted long-lasting insecticidal nets (vs 49% in 2019) (p<0.05). Integrated Community Malaria Volunteers (ICMVs) trained in 2020 was 49% in comparison to 94% in 2019 (P<0.05), while number of functional ICMVs remained at 91% (vs 94% in 2019). Overall monthly reports from all reporting units received slightly dropped by 5%. In 2020, NMCP was able to conduct 59% supervision visits at various levels, which was higher than 2019 (56%).
Conclusions: Malaria cases, severe cases and deaths continued to decline amid COVID-19 in Myanmar with 55% decline in P. falciparum . Programme need to continue essential malaria services during the upsurge of COVID-19 and simultaneously plan proactively to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential malaria commodities for 2021 to ensure P. falciparum elimination by 2025.