MYANMAR: Giving least priority to health care

MYANMAR (formerly Burma)                                 

Population: 54.58 million

Young people aged 10-24 account for nearly 30% of the total population.

76 % of the population resides in rural areas and is engaged in agricultural and animal husbandry.

Fertility Rate:  6.1 children/woman (1970s) vs. 2.0 children/woman (2010)

Life Expectancy:  50 years (1970s) vs. 65 years (2010)

Infant mortality:  47.74 deaths / 1000 live births

Male/Female Ratio:  0.99 male  / female

Major Religion:  Buddhism

– Myanmar’s health care system is the worst in the world.  Among the countries in the world, Myanmar government spends the least percentage of its GDP on health care.   In 2010-2011, the gross domestic product per capita was $724, and health expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product was only 0.22%

– The country has one of the worst health indicators in the world.  HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria cause substantial morbidity and mortality.  Myanmar has more than 50% of all malaria-related deaths in Southeast Asia. An estimated 15,000 people die every year because of lack of access to anti-retroviral treatment (ART) required by an estimated 120,000 AIDS patients.

– Myanmar has the highest blindness prevalence rate in the world, with 8.1% blindness in rural areas.  Blindness is caused by cataracts (64%), glaucoma (17%), trachoma (4%) and other causes (15%). Myanmar has 40.4% low vision in rural areas of which 70% is due to cataracts.

– 40% of all Burmese children younger than 5 years old are moderately stunted.

– Nearly 5% of all pregnancies ended in abortions, with the highest rate occurring among women aged 15-19 years. Complications of abortion are one of the leading causes of maternal deaths. 

– Seventy-six per cent of maternal deliveries take place at home, where nearly 90 per cent of maternal deaths occur. 

– More than half of women of all ages had never been married.

– The contraceptive prevalence rate for modern methods was 38.4%.   This year, the government, the United Nations Population Fund and other partners spent about US$2.66 million on procuring and distributing contraceptives.

– 32% of sex workers and 43% of intravenous drug users have HIV.  An estimated 20,000 die from HIV/AIDS annually.




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