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UNICEF to spend $200m on women, children to 2015

By Kyaw Hsu Mon, Myanmar Times

1036 days ago   Article ID# 1365333
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United Nations Children's Fund

YANGON, BURMA (Myanmar Times) - The United Nations Children’s Fund will spend almost US$200 million to 2015 on health and education projects targeted at women and children, a senior official says.

UNICEF country representative Mr Ramesh Shrestha told The Myanmar Times in Bago on December 7 that a major focus of the 2011-2015 programs was reducing infant and child mortality, which is one of the Millennium Development Goals. The programs also include sanitation, child protection and education.

UNICEF is also assisting departments and ministries to conduct national surveys of the health and education situation in regards to women and children.

“And also we are also happy to help the Ministry of Health with vaccines for children next year. We will spend $1.3 million to buy vaccines,” he said.

Mr Shrestha was speaking at the regional launch of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2009-10, which was compiled in cooperation with Ministry of Health and Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.

The survey collected data from more than 29,000 households, including more than 39,000 women aged 15 to 49, in all states and regions.

Speaking at the launch, Bago Region Chief Minister U Nyan Win said the data would help to support government poverty alleviation efforts.

“For this survey, we reviewed all the data from government departments and other organisations. I am sure this survey will help improve the future for our women and children but we will have to do more to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Fore the next four years, we will especially have to focus on education and health,” he said.

Mr Shrestha said the survey showed “that there are improvements on many aspects of child well-being”.

“This national survey also identified areas where no changes were recorded. In some indicators there were slight declines, which shows that there is still more work to be done to improve the situation of children and women,” he said.

He later told The Myanmar Times: “We will continue working with related government ministries for women and children in Myanmar. Especially, we are interested to work with the Ministry of Health because the survey found that many children die in the first four weeks after birth. If we can improve this it will save many children’s lives,” he said.

A particular issue was collecting data in rural areas of Kachin, Chin and Shan states.

“The data shows that we need to make more progress in these areas,” he said.

The survey found that 22.6pc of Myanmar children aged under five years are moderately underweight, while 5.6pc are severely underweight. The infant mortality rate is estimated at 37.5 per 1000 live births, with both infant and under-five morality rates higher in rural than urban areas.

Copyright 2014 Myanmar Times   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1036 days ago   Article ID# 1365333

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