Publications & Reports

A mobile phone application for malaria case-based reporting to advance malaria surveillance in Myanmar: a mixed methods evaluation.

Oo WH, Htike W, Cutts JC, Win KM, Thu KM, Oo MC, Hkawng GN, Agius PA, Htoon PP, Scott N, Kearney E, Moreira C, Pedrana A, Stoove M, Thi A, Aung YW, Thein MM, Rosecrans K, Lwin KT, Min AK, Fowkes FJI
Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia.


BACKGROUND: To achieve malaria elimination in the Greater Mekong Subregion, including Myanmar, it is necessary to ensure all malaria cases are detected, treated, and reported in a timely manner. Mobile phone-based applications for malaria reporting, case management, and surveillance implemented at a community-level may overcome reporting limitations associated with current paper-based reporting (PBR), but their effectiveness in this context is unknown. METHODS: A mixed methods evaluation study was undertaken to determine the effectiveness of a national Malaria Case-Based Reporting (MCBR) mobile phone application in improving malaria case reporting compared to the existing PBR reporting system in Myanmar. Methods included secondary analysis of malaria case report data, questionnaires, focus group discussions and field observations of community volunteers, interviews and direct observations of malaria programme stakeholders, and cost analysis. Using a combination of these approaches the following areas were investigated: data quality and completeness, data access and usage, capacity for timely reporting, the acceptability, functionality, and ease of use of the application and facilitators and barriers to its use, and the relative cost of MCBR compared to the PBR system. RESULTS: Compared to PBR, MCBR enabled more accurate and complete data to be reported in a much timelier manner, with 63% of MCBR users reporting they transmit rapid diagnostic test outcomes within 24 h, compared to 0% of PBR users. MCBR was favoured by integrated community malaria volunteers and their supervisors because of its efficiency. However, several technical and operational challenges associated with internet coverage, data transmission, and e-literacy were identified and stakeholders reported not being confident to rely solely on MCBR data for programmatic decision-making. CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of MCBR provided timely and accurate data for malaria surveillance. Findings from this evaluation study will enable the optimization of an application-based reporting system for malaria monitoring and surveillance in the Greater Mekong Subregion and advance systems to track progress towards, and certify, the achievement of malaria elimination targets.

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