The government signed a new agreement with the World Bank to bring improved maternal, newborn and child healthcare in Myanmar.
The Essential Health Services Access Project will provide $100 million in funding for increased and improved coverage of critical health services across Myanmar’s 330 townships.
The project – initially approved by the bank in October last year – is expected to benefit more than 4 million pregnant women and young children.
“We are pleased to be able to invest in quality health services for all people in Myanmar. Better health services will improve the quality of life for mothers and their young children, and, ultimately, will help bring us closer to achieving the ambitious goal of universal health coverage,” said Dr Thein Thein Htay, deputy minister for health.
Under the project, communities will receive grants for health services at the local level and support for implementing inclusive planning, resource management, improved local oversight and community engagement.
For rural health centres, the grants might allow basic health staff, like midwives, to make more frequent visits to the homes of pregnant women, infants, and young children to provide needed care, ensure timely immunisations, and to give families nutrition and hygiene education, the World Bank said.
“Good maternal, newborn and child healthcare is critical for Myanmar. This project will help bring more and better essential health services to Myanmar mothers and children,” Ulrich Zachau, World Bank country director for Southeast Asia.
This support for Myanmar’s move toward universal health coverage is part of the World Bank Group’s $2 billion multi-year development package announced by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim during his visit to Myanmar in early 2014.