Oral Presentation First Malaria World Congress 2018

Migrant health volunteers engagement in malaria elimination in Thailand (#114)

Sai Ti 1
  1. American Refugee Committee International (ARC International), Thongphaphum District, KANCHANABURI PROVINCE, Thailand

Migrant Health volunteers play a critical role not only in malaria elimination but in other health burdens as well. Their contribution is enormous and unmeasurable. They are locally based, knowledgeable about culture and social norms, and able to address and respond to the problems in prompt and effective manners. These volunteers are frontline workers to tackle the needs and gaps of mobile migrant populations by bridging government agencies and Civil Society Organizations.

As mentioned in Thailand National Malaria Elimination Strategy 2017-26, it encourages again the collaboration and resources mobilization with and among various community level stakeholders – public and private sectors – to achieve malaria elimination agenda by 2024.

The current Regional Artemisinin Resistance Initiative 2 – Elimination also emphasizes community participation, resources mobilization/integration and volunteers’ empowerment. Civil Society Organizations are asked to complement national malaria elimination plan by collaborating closely with government agencies concerned. Challenges still persist though.

1. Political commitment
a. There is still a huge gap of understanding between executive and operational levels regarding inter-governmental collaboration in the fight against malaria. Civil Society Organizations need to coordinate not only local Ministry of Public Health, but other ministries such as Interior, Police, Immigration, and Military alike.
b. Uninterrupted and strong political commitment from policy makers is also required in order to push the agendas of community ownership and program sustainability. Even though CSOs have been trying to advocate for years, this is still an uphill struggle.

2. Resources allocation and integration
a. Allocation: The current resources allocation to CSOs covering 2018-20 are quite limited for increasing community’s and volunteers’ roles
b. Integration: The Ministry of Public Health should be more proactive in helping connect other government ministries concerned and CSOs in the same area

3. Integration of malaria with other services
a. Migrant Health Volunteers are to be trained for engaging more with other health facilities in community. This is one of the key activities in RAI2E to strengthen partnership, however, the resources to implement is limited.
b. As mentioned in Thailand National Malaria Elimination Strategy 2017-26, CSOs are asked to help advocate and sensitize Sub-district Administration Organization for putting malaria agenda a priority and other local ministerial agencies about malaria elimination

4. Supporting of and empowerment to Migrant Health Volunteers
a. Since previous rounds funded by Global Fund, trained Migrant Health Volunteers are encouraged to conduct health educations, participate in community meetings and trainings of trainers, join development of behavior change communication materials, coordinate with community leaders and members for World Malaria Campaign and alike. As mentioned, resources are limited to have supportive environment.