Health

NursesNurses and midwives at Taungoo General Hospital, Bago region. Credit: WHO Myanmar.

 

Myanmar has a population of around 51.5 million, living in diverse geographical areas and in different social and economic conditions. The health needs of the population reflect these differences. Given its complexity and diversification, the health situation in Myanmar presents many facets that require a concerted and diversified approach from all health actors – national and international - operating in the country.

The UN support the Ministry of Health and Government of Myanmar in their national health planning and provide overall leadership and technical guidance to health partners. Advancements in the health sector represent a key area of focus for the UN, and individual agencies remain committed to working together with authorities and partners to achieve important results and impact in this field.

Myanmar has one of the highest maternal mortality and under-five mortality rates in South-East Asia.  The major causes of death in Myanmar among children below the age of five are illnesses linked to preterm and delivery complications and preventable infections such as pneumonia and diarrhoea. In terms of maternal mortality, complications during pregnancy and lack of specialized care during birth account for the majority of deaths among pregnant women in the country. Most of these deaths could be prevented through effective interventions, delivered through a strengthened health care system.

To reduce maternal and child mortality, the UN helps develop policies, creates demand for services, and strengthens health care systems to reach everyone in need. Different agencies work in partnership to strengthen national policies and programming and ensure that national Health authorities can reinforce service delivery in all areas of Myanmar.

Myanmar has achieved impressive results in the fight against communicable diseases in past decades. Rates of transmission and infections of Malaria, Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases have decreased steadily and consistently in most areas of the country. The work of the UN through specialized agencies has ensured continued support to national authorities and made technical and clinical advancements possible in the country.

Still, there is space for improvement. Although HIV prevalence has declined in Myanmar, for instance, the epidemic remains concentrated among key populations.  The core objectives of the UN response are to reduce HIV transmission and vulnerability, particularly among people at highest risk, improve the quality and length of life of people living with HIV through treatment, care and support, and mitigate the social, cultural and economic impacts of the epidemic. To cater for high-risk populations such as drug users or prisoners, the UN promotes the development of evidence-based policies for drug use prevention and drug dependence treatment, care and rehabilitation, as well as for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programmes.

UN Agencies and non-governmental organizations work hand-in-hand to reinforce health systems and national capacities in humanitarian and emergency contexts. The Health Cluster coordinates health activities in those areas of Myanmar facing crisis. Different agencies support projects in the field of emergency health care and referrals in areas of operation of the Cluster and provide relief assistance to the most vulnerable communities in Myanmar.