Health in Myanmar

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The general state of healthcare in Myanmar (also known as Burma) is poor. The military government spends anywhere from 0.5% to 3% of the country's GDP on health care, consistently ranking among the lowest in the world.[1][2] Although health care is nominally free, in reality, patients have to pay for medicine and treatment, even in public clinics and hospitals. Public hospitals lack many of the basic facilities and equipment.

Health status[edit]

Maternal Health and Mortality[edit]

Abortion is illegal in Myanmar, a country that is predominantly Buddhist. Although the maternal mortality rate has decreased since 1970 in regards to pregnancy and childbirth, death due to abortion remains high due to attempts at obtaining illegal abortion. [3]

Maternal and child health care[edit]

In June 2011, the United Nations Population Fund released a report on The State of the World's Midwifery. It contained new data on the midwifery workforce and policies relating to newborn and maternal mortality for 58 countries. The 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for Myanmar is 240. This is compared with 219.3 in 2008 and 662 in 1990. The under 5 mortality rate, per 1,000 births is 73 and the neonatal mortality as a percentage of under 5's mortality is 47. The aim of this report is to highlight ways in which the Millennium Development Goals can be achieved, particularly Goal 4 – Reduce child mortality and Goal 5 – improve maternal death. In Myanmar the number of midwives per 1,000 live births is 9 and the lifetime risk of death for pregnant women 1 in 180.[4]


Main article: HIV/AIDS in Burma

HIV/AIDS recognised as a disease of concern by the Burmese Ministry of Health, is most prevalent among sex workers and intravenous drug users. In 2005, the estimated adult HIV prevalence rate in Burma was 1.3% (200,000 - 570,000 people), according to UNAIDS, and early indicators show that the epidemic may be waning in the country, although the epidemic continues to expand.[5][6][7] However, the National AIDS Programme Burma found that 32% of sex workers and 43% of intravenous drug users in Burma have HIV.[7]

The national government, in 2005, spent US$137,120 (K150,831,600) on HIV, while international donors (the governments of Norway, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Sweden) donated US$27,711,813 towards HIV programmes in Burma.[8] Burma (ranked 51 out of 166 countries) has one of Asia's highest adult HIV prevalence rates, following Cambodia and Thailand. An estimated 20,000 (range of 11,000 to 35,000) die from HIV/AIDS annually.[9]

Health education[edit]

Burma has 6 medical universities: 5 civilian and one military. All are operated by the government and recognised by the Myanmar Medical Council. They are:

  1. University of Medicine-1, Yangon
  2. University of Medicine-2, Yangon
  3. Defence Services Medical Academy
  4. University of Medicine, Mandalay
  5. University of Medicine, Magway
  6. University of Medicine, Taunggyi

In March 2012, Okayama University announced it was planning to build a medical academy in the country, tentatively named the Rinsho Academy, which would be the first foreign-run medical school in the country.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "PPI: Almost Half of All World Health Spending is in the United States". 17 January 2007. 
  2. ^ Yasmin Anwar (28 June 2007). "Burma junta faulted for rampant diseases". UC Berkeley News. 
  3. ^ Ba-Thike, Katherine (May 1997). "Abortion: A public health problem in Myanmar". Reproductive Health Matters 5 (9): 94–100. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  4. ^ "The State Of The World's Midwifery". United Nations Population Fund. Retrieved August 2011. 
  5. ^ "At a glance: Myanmar - statistics". UNICEF. Retrieved 9 January 2007. 
  6. ^ "A scaled-up response to AIDS in Asia and the Pacific" (PDF). UNAIDS. 1 July 2005. Retrieved 10 January 2007. 
  7. ^ a b "Asia" (PDF). UNAIDS. December 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2007. 
  8. ^ "Fund for HIV/AIDS in Myanmar - Annual Progress Report" (PDF). UNAIDS. 1 April 2005. Retrieved 9 January 2007. 
  9. ^ "Myanmar: Epidemiological Fact Sheets" (PDF). UNAIDS. 2004. Retrieved 10 January 2007. 
  10. ^ Tsujita, Hideki (18 March 2012). "Okayama University extends hand to Myanmar". The Daily Yomiuri. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 

External links[edit]