OPINION: Malaria as a Catalyst for Change in Myanmar

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

In Washington D.C., recently, more than a dozen senior officials and politicians from Myanmar, some from groups with histories of deep mutual distrust, joined together in an extraordinary effort: to eliminate malaria from their deeply fragmented country. This is move that could have a dramatic effect on the global fight against the deadly parasitic disease.

This meeting was an unprecedented step. It took years of work, by us and by many others. The groups included the government — including the military — the main opposition party, and three of Myanmar’s many ethnic minorities afflicted by malaria, the Shan, Karenni, and Kayin. Some of these groups had never sat down together at the same table to discuss anything.

The subject they discussed, malaria, is a major health and economic problem for Myanmar and for the world. About 300,000 people in the country are afflicted by malaria every year; Myanmar accounts for more than three-quarters of malaria deaths in Southeast Asia.

Source: Roll Call (link opens in a new window)

Health Care