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GlobalPost Examines Women's Health In Myanmar Amid Country's Recent Political Reform

“Since Myanmar gained independence from the British in 1948, it has been wracked by armed conflicts and fragile ceasefires with civilians and ethnic rebels,” and “[t]he health of Myanmar’s women has been one of the biggest casualties,” GlobalPost reports. Though recent news coverage has focused on political reform in the nation, “little attention has been paid to a more immediate need: affordable, decent health care,” the news service states. The “military junta that ruled the country for a half century spent very little on health care,” little international aid has come into the country, and “the government restricts where and how aid organizations can operate, blocking the delivery of medical services,” the news service writes, adding, “The result has been a health care system that in conflict areas, does not exist, and in large cities, is too expensive for ordinary people, according to experts inside Myanmar and on the Thai border.”

“The maternal mortality rate for women in Myanmar is 240 deaths per 100,000 live births,” whereas Thailand’s rate is 44 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to GlobalPost. Women in the country lack access to reproductive health services, including family planning information, contraceptives and skilled birth attendants, the news service notes. “As Myanmar goes through this time of transition, it remains to be seen how a new, reform-minded government will impact the health of the country’s women. While clinicians and advocates in Yangon and on the border say they have not seen tangible changes yet, they are hopeful,” GlobalPost writes, noting that “[t]he government has indicated it will quadruple its health expenditures” and a priority is improving maternal and child health (Ingber, 6/22).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.