Burma turns to midwives to lower infant mortality

Burma has one of the highest infant mortality rates in Southeast Asia.

The nation, also known as Myanmar, is mostly rural and lacks basic healthcare in most regions.

Burma, in conjunction with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has turned to the training young women in the skills of the traditional midwife.

There are more than 20 midwife schools across the country, teaching a two-year curriculum. Students learn to save both mother and child when complications arise during birth.

Most graduates will go to small, remote clinics where no other medical care is available.

Statistics show pregnancy and birth as the leading cause of death for Burmese women.

The latest data show 282 deaths per 100,000—eight mother die giving birth every day.

UNFPA Myanmar representative, Hla Hla Aye, said “Taking into this data in account, we fear that maternal mortality needs to come down if Myanmar wants to graduate from least developed into middle income country.”

As bad as that sounds, it is far better than the 453 deaths per 100,000 counted in 1990, Hla Hla Aye noted.

 
 

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