Myanmar’s integrated approach to mapping and controlling NTDs

LASER's Hope Simpson working with NTD stakeholders in Myanmar. (image courtesy Emmy van der Grinten)

Public health stakeholders from Myanmar are taking steps to improve the mapping and surveillance of leprosy, lymphatic filariasis and trachoma, LASER’s Hope Simpson explains why.

8 September 2017

In 2013, analysis by the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that in Myanmar over 42 million people were at risk of infection from at least one neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) including soil transmitted helminths (STH), leprosy, lymphatic filariasis (LF) and trachoma.

When trachoma was taken on its own, 18 million people lived in areas where trachoma was a known risk and approximately 66,000 were suffering from the advanced stage of the disease leading to visual impairment and permanent blindness (Global Atlas of Trachoma, 2013).

To  support national programmes in countries such as Myanmar  to control and eventually eliminate NTDs as a public health issue, the WHO’s Regional Office for South East Asia developed the Regional Strategic Plan for Integrated NTD control in South-East Asia Region.

This strategic plan identified four main intervention packages:

  1. Mass drug administration for LF, STH, Schistomsomiasis and trachoma;
  2. Integrated vector management for vector-borne NTDs (LF, kala-azar, dengue and Japanese encephalitis);
  3. Case-finding and treatment for leprosy, kala-azar, trachoma and yaws; and
  4. Integrated disability prevention and care for LF and leprosy.

Recent years have seen remarkable progress in the control of NTDs, with increased availability of funding and the establishment of national NTD control programmes. As countries develop their programmes, data on the geographical distribution of NTDs are required to target treatment to areas of greatest need and to estimate drug and resource requirements. In addition, as interventions are scaled-up, national governments and donors require clear information on the progress in control efforts.

In line with this approach, the Ministry of Health in Myanmar is working to integrate NTD data from a range of different sources, to develop a national geodatabase of NTDs. This is intended to make surveillance more efficient, and help to target integrated control and case-management of NTDs.

In support of this work, representatives from across Myanmar’s NTD community are undertaking an intensive 5-day training course to develop the necessary skills and tools they need to be able to collate, analyse and utilise this NTD data.

With a focus on the mapping of leprosy, lymphatic filariasis and trachoma, the course is designed to provide them with the skills and the tools needed to design, implement and evaluate targeted and effective NTD control programme.

As well as creating integrated maps to show where these diseases overlap in Myanmar, participants will be mapping disease-specific indicators to track progress against WHO targets for NTD control.  Participants will also build general skills in data management and analysis, which will further strengthen Myanmar’s NTD control programmes.

The course is being taught by researchers from the London Applied & Spatial Epidemiology Research (LASER) group based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, in partnership with the AIM initiative.

Further resources

The training manual including all of the practical tutorials developed by LASER for this workshop are freely available to download from the GAHI training page .

 The Mapping of Intensified Case Management NTDs using Quantum GIS 2.18.9

Practical 1: Becoming familiar with Quantum GIS interface and GIS features (pdf)

Practical 2: Managing data tables and creating spatial data sets (pdf)

Practical 3: Creating your map layouts using the print composer in QGIS (pdf)

Practical 4: Approaches to geo-referencing locations (pdf)

Practical 5: Basic GIS geoprocessing (pdf)

Download the complete Modern Tools for NTD Control Programmes: Practicals 1- 5 (pdf)


Data for practicals 1 -5  (zip)


Download the French translation: Outils modernes pour les programmes de contrôle des MTN (pdf)