Women's and Children's health a key priority in Myanmar
A Burnet delegation of board members and executive staff is meeting with Myanmar Government senior health officials this week to discuss key health challenges facing the country.
Burnet Institute Chair, Mr Alastair Lucas AM, former Democrats leader and Burnet Board member Ms Natasha Stott Despoja AM, and Burnet Institute Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb will meet with the Minister for Health Dr Pe Thet Khin, the Deputy Minister Dr Thein Thein Htay and with the Director General of Health, Dr Min Than Nyunt and Director General for Medical Science, Dr Than Zaw Myint.
Professor Crabb said that with the rapidly changing political environment in Myanmar, the Institute was now engaging with a number of government ministries to assist in strengthening health systems and improving the capacity for public health research.
“Some of the key health issues to be discussed will include women’s and children’s health and the high levels of maternal and newborn deaths especially in rural Myanmar, malaria and drug resistance, and water and sanitation programs,” Professor Crabb said.
“A woman in Myanmar is 45 times more likely to die during childbirth, or because of complications during her pregnancy, than a woman in Australia.
“In addition to our mainstream health activities, Burnet Myanmar has become involved in some other key initiatives such as responding to humanitarian emergencies, strengthening civil society and improving education through the monastic school system, ” he added.
Burnet’s Myanmar Country Representative, Dr Karl Dorning and the Myanmar Burnet team will also accompany the Board members throughout the week-long visit.
Dr Dorning, who first started working in Myanmar in 1995, said there was a real hunger by people locally to learn more about improving public health outcomes.
“Burnet is a conduit for bringing good learning on public health and generally continuing to help develop civil society that’s thoughtful, reflective and respectful of people and their different needs,” he said.
Three current projects in Myanmar reach out to a variety of community sectors seeking increased understanding and knowledge about maternal and child health including:
Burnet Institute has been operational in Myanmar since 2003 and has a strong commitment to building the capacity of local NGOs and other civil society groups to address public health challenges.
The Institute has 39 Myanmar national staff based in Yangon and works with more than 50 local partners to help address issues such as maternal and child health, infectious diseases particularly HIV, sexual and reproductive health, psychosocial support, young peoples health and drug and alcohol use.