Reliable information on mobility patterns of migrants is a crucial part of the strategy to contain the spread of artemisinin-resistant malaria parasites in South-East Asia, and may also be helpful to efforts to address other public health problems for migrants and members of host communities. In order to limit the spread of malarial drug resistance, the malaria prevention and control programme will need to devise strategies to reach cross-border and mobile migrant populations.MethodologyThe Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) method was used to survey migrant workers from Cambodia and Myanmar, both registered and undocumented, in three Thai provinces on the Thailand-Cambodia border in close proximity to areas with documented artemisinin-resistant malaria parasites.
1,719 participants (828 Cambodian and 891 Myanmar migrants) were recruited. Subpopulations of migrant workers were analysed using the Thailand Ministry of Health classification based on length of residence in Thailand of greater than six months (long-term, or M1) or less than six months (short-term, or M2).
Key information collected on the structured questionnaire included patterns of mobility and migration, demographic characteristics, treatment-seeking behaviours, and knowledge, perceptions, and practices about malaria.
Results: Workers from Cambodia came from provinces across Cambodia, and 22% of Cambodian M1 and 72% of Cambodian M2 migrants had been in Cambodia in the last three months. Less than 6% returned with a frequency of greater than once per month.
Of migrants from Cambodia, 32% of M1 and 68% of M2 were planning to return, and named provinces across Cambodia as their likely next destinations. Most workers from Myanmar came from Mon state (86%), had never returned to Myanmar (85%), and only 4% stated plans to return.
Conclusion: Information on migratory patterns of migrants from Myanmar and Cambodia along the malaria endemic Thailand-Cambodian border within the artemisinin resistance containment zone will help target health interventions, including treatment follow-up and surveillance.
Author: Amnat KhamsiriwatcharaPiyaporn WangroongsarbJulie ThwingJames EliadesWichai SatimaiCharles DelacolletteJaranit Kaewkungwal
Credits/Source: Malaria Journal 2011, 10:120