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    CANCEL
    Background

    Migrant populations are at an increased risk of exposure to malaria due to their nature of work and seasonal migration. This study aimed to compare malaria prevention behaviours and care-seeking practices among worksite migrant workers and villagers in the malaria-at-risk areas of Eastern Myanmar close to the China border.

    Methods

    A mixed method study was conducted in March 2019. The malaria-at-risk worksites in the four targeted townships, and villages located the nearest to these worksites were approached. Key stakeholders, such as worksite managers and village leaders, were interviewed.

    Results

    A total of 23 worksites, which employed 880 migrants and 447 locals, and 20 villages, which were homes for 621 migrants and 9731 locals, were successfully interviewed. Regarding malaria prevention behaviours, sleeping under a bed net was common among both worksites (74%) and villages (85%). In contrast, insecticide-treated nets/long-lasting insecticidal nets (ITN/LLIN) usage was much lower in the worksites than in the villages (39% vs 80%). Regarding care-seeking practices for febrile illness, self-medication was a popular choice for both worksite workers and villagers owing to the easy availability of western medicine. Moreover, local-belief-driven traditional practices were more common among villagers. For occasions in which fever was not relieved, both would seek health care from rural health centres, private clinics, or public hospitals. As for barriers, villagers mostly cited language barriers, which often lead to misunderstanding between health providers and them. In contrast, most of the worksites cited logistics issues as they were in remote areas with devastated road conditions and the routes to formal health facilities were not secure due to frequent armed conflicts.

    Conclusion

    This study demonstrated that site-workers and villagers had different malaria prevention behaviours and care-seeking practices even though they resided in the same geographic area. Hence, it is important to recognize such differences for more effective intervention approaches.