Bordered by China, Thailand, India, Laos PDR and Bangladesh, Myanmar’s uninterrupted coastline extends more than 1900 kilometres along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Home to more than 51 million people, Myanmar is undergoing significant economic, social and political change since the easing of international trade and economic sanctions. In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked the Myanmar (Burma) among the lowest of 190 countries for their health systems. The relatively poor health infrastructure in Myanmar coupled with a very low GDP spend on health care (below 3%), basic road infrastructure and rural services, there are significant challenges to effective health services delivery.
Major health challenges facing the country according to the World Health Organization include:
- Low life expectancy rates - 64 years for a male and 68 years for a female
- High mortality for children under five years (51 per 1,000 live births)
- High maternal mortality ratio (200 per 100,000 live births)
- Deaths due to malaria (per 100,000 population) is 5.4
- 60 percent of the population lives in malaria Transmission areas
- High TB burden - incidence rate was estimated at 373 per 100,000 population while prevalence was 473 per 100,000 population and mortality was 49 per 100,000 population. MDR-TB rate was 5% in new cases of Tuberculosis and 27.1% among previously treated cases of Tuberculosis
- High HIV burden – 190,000 [170,000-220,000] cases with an estimated 10 percent co-infection of HIV/tuberculosis
- Widespread poverty, lack of proper sanitation and water supply, malnutrition and poor health awareness
Since its inception in 2003, the Burnet Institute Myanmar (BI-MM) program has grown steadily.
Effective partnerships have been forged with a large number of local organisations in the areas of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, Malaria prevention and treatment, MDR-TB care and support, and maternal and child health with a philosophy of civil society capacity building to enable community based solutions to health care delivery.
In 2005, BI-MM entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Health to formalise our presence. In 2015, we expanded our MoU to enable operation in all 14 states/regions.
We continue to be a leader in developing creative local solutions to complex development issues. Building on our technical and management expertise and financial resources BI-MM is well recognised in the donor community for its effective financial, management and reporting systems.
BI has a strong reputation in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and organisation development providing training to the UN and other non Government Organisations.
The focus is also on continuing to develop the capacity of local partners to respond to health issues within the context of broader development challenges in 48 townships in all eight regions and states.
BI-MM is expanding its research portfolio and research staff to undertake more operational and primary research activities in collaboration with the Government and other local as well as international organisations.
Research will be conducted in collaboration with the Myanmar Department of Medical Research, National Programs (of disease control, MNCH and School health), the Public Health University, Department of Public Health mainly with the National Programs (of disease control, MNCH and School health), Department of Medical Services and other government approved research agencies and local partners.
Burnet will also expand its implementation approach from capacity building of local organisations to direct service provision to communities, and support to the Myanmar Department of Public Health.
ANCP Maternal and Child Health program underway in peri-urban Yangon Division