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Thailand and Myanmar Begin Cross-border Effort to Reduce Malaria
The border towns of Ranong, Thailand, and Kawthaung, Myanmar, celebrated World Malaria Day May 10 by initiating their new sister city initiative for malaria control, facilitated by URC's Control and Prevention of Malaria (CAP-Malaria) project. The towns are separated only by the Kraburi River, which residents and migrant workers cross frequently, even daily. Both towns have among the highest rates of malaria in their countries.
More than 500 people attended the towns' World Malaria Day activities. A parade roused people into the streets, where balloons and banner created a festive atmosphere. People visited booths to receive long-lasting insecticide-treated bednets and learned about the importance of sleeping under a net, seeking care early, and taking the complete dose of antimalarial. The banners, posters, and t-shirts featured text in both Thai and Myanmar, so everyone could understand the messages, regardless of nationality. Caravans of health education vehicles visited nearby villages to provide malaria services and education.
A delegation from Myanmar, led by Dr. Thar Tun Kyaw, arrived in Ranong and participated in the opening of a border malaria post supported by CAP-Malaria. Later in the day, a Thai delegation, led by Dr. Thongchai Keeratihattayakorn, crossed the river to Kawthuang to join the Malaria Day activities and visit another CAP-Malaria-supported border malaria post in Myanmar. On both occasions, the representatives exchanged gifts of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and bednets and spoke of the importance of a coordinated approach that provides malaria services not only for the people in the communities but also migrants temporarily residing in the area.