February 8th, 2022, was one of Chansamone Yotvilay’s proudest days in her career. While working in Huay Ngoi Village of the Paksong District, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), she helped one of her patients recover quickly by accurately diagnosing malaria and providing appropriate treatment using what is known as the “1-3-7″ approach. This was Chansamone’s second confirmed malaria case she helped treat after receiving training on this approach in February 2022. She thinks back on that memory fondly, feeling more confident having received that training. “I felt proud because [I] was able to use [my] skills confidently in this practical situation [to save a life].”
Chansamone has worked for District Anti-Malaria Nuclei (DAMN) for 11 years as a technical officer. She spends most of her days working on malaria surveillance and response in Paksong District, Champasack Province. Lao PDR has made significant progress against malaria, decreasing confirmed cases 99% between 2000 and 2020, but half the population is still at risk. Chansamone is dedicated to changing that for her country.
Supporting Lao PDR’s national goal of eliminating malaria by 2030, PMI Impact Malaria supports the Ministry of Health and National Malaria Elimination Program to provide training for health care providers and technical officers like Chansamone on the “1-3-7” approach. In Laos and the Greater Mekong Subregion, this effective nationwide surveillance system is key for elimination efforts. The “1-3-7″ approach is used to report confirmed malaria cases in 1 day, investigate and classify the confirmed cases in 3 days, and follow-up with necessary actions within 7 days.
Between 2021 and 2022, Chansamone received three formal trainings and five onsite coaching sessions on malaria prevention and intervention provided by the Ministry of Health’s Centre for Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology and funded and supported by PMI Impact Malaria. The trainings equipped Chansamone with practical and technical experience and channeled her passion for ending malaria. After receiving this training, she also received follow up onsite coaching and distance advice by PMI Impact Malaria Laos. “Now I understand how to complete [mandatory surveillance and investigation forms], how to review and enter the data into the [national operating system], performing the laboratory testing, and how to properly conduct supportive supervision visits and the foci investigation and response. I feel more confident [in my work].
This nationwide system has been critical towards efforts to eliminate malaria in Lao PDR and throughout the Greater Mekong Subregion. Training providers and technicians like Chansamone in this approach is key to reaching the 2030 elimination goal. Motivated to use her training and skills beyond her own job, Chansamone supports her colleagues with advice and informed answers to their questions. “I’ve spent years working on malaria intervention. This is my passion. I want to contribute and see Laos be malaria free.”
PMI Impact Malaria is funded and technically assisted by the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and is led by Population Services International (PSI) in partnership with Jhpiego, MCD Global Health, and the Malaria Elimination Institute (MEI) at the University of California San Francisco.