Myanmar’s Health Minister has paid tribute to Burnet’s research in adolescent health at an event to launch a government-initiated health promotion project into schools in Yangon.
Aimed at improving health among adolescents in Myanmar, the Health Promoting School Teams (HPST) project will be rolled out in 60 schools in the Yangon region.
Speaking at the event, Union Health Minister Dr Myint Htwe acknowledged Burnet’s implementation research in Myanmar’s health sector and Burnet’s collaboration with the Yangon Regional Health Department to develop the pilot project.
Image: Myanmar Union Minister of Health, Dr Myint Htwe (Image courtesy Phyo WP - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66528985)
Burnet Country Program Manager, Myanmar, Lia Burns, said her team was honoured by the high-level recognition.
“We are very honoured to be recognised by the Minster of Health as an important research partner for the government and to be able to work in partnership to strengthen health policy and financing decision, with a policy-relevant evidence base and quality data,” Ms Burns said.
The HPST project, developed by the Yangon Region Health Department and the Ministry of Health and Sports, is part of a wider push from State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, to prioritise school health in Myanmar.
Ms Burns said despite the fact that over a quarter of Myanmar’s population is under 15 years old, inequities to access to quality health services for young people remain, particularly in regional areas. The HPST project is aimed at reducing this.
“A whole school approach that links with the local health services can promote social inclusion, facilitate improved learning outcomes, increase emotional wellbeing and reduce health risk behaviours,” she said.
The pilot project will deliver training to teachers and health promotion kits to a group of students from grade 5, 6 and 7 in these schools, and provide activities covering nine aspects of health promotion.
Image: School health corner, Phogyi Monastic School, Magwey, Myanmar
Ms Burns said the HPST project came about as a result of a Yangon Region School Health Micro-plan Development Workshop held in January.
Burnet’s Myanmar Country Team, led by Dr Phone Myint Win, supported the workshop which came about as a result of Burnet’s implementation research in adolescent health funded by the Australian Aid Program.
“Burnet was very pleased to respond to a request from the Yangon Regional Health Director, Dr Sandar, to support and facilitate this workshop with over 50 stakeholders in attendance across government, civil society, UN and INGO partners,” Ms Burns said.
The HPST pilot project is being rolled out in schools across the Yangon region over the next academic year.