NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar — UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin met today with key national leaders to explore how the Fund can further support Myanmar's development and its reform process.
Dr. Osotimehin with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Photo: UNFPA Myanmar
In a dialogue at the President's office, President U Thein Sein and Dr. Osotimehin discussed the UNFPA-supported 2014 census, ways to strengthen reproductive health services, and the need for a comprehensive youth policy.
Meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Executive Director sought the Nobel laureate's support in addressing shared concerns including the well-being and empowerment of young people and women's reproductive health.
The President thanked UNFPA for its assistance in developing plans for the first enumeration of the country's population in 31 years. Dr. Osotimehin stressed the importance of following UN international standards for conducting a census and including all population groups in the count.
Discussions about reproductive health focused on the need to improve maternal health care and make contraceptive methods more available, to reduce unintended pregnancies and abortions and save women's and children's lives. This calls for increasing supplies, training health workers, revising service policies, addressing legal barriers and ensuring adequate funding.
The Executive Director heard from a group of Myanmar's young leaders.
Photo: UNFPA Myanmar
The Executive Director also met with leaders of the Myanmar Medical Association’s Youth Development Programme and heard about their efforts to raise young people’s awareness on reproductive health issues including HIV prevention. He said that empowering young people is a priority for UNFPA, and told them that the national leaders he met with in Nay Pyi Taw had welcomed his offer to help the country engage young people in developing policies to promote their health, education and employment prospects.
UNFPA support to Myanmar aims, among other goals, to strengthen the health system's human resources and management, increase access to youth-friendly reproductive health services, and promote healthy behaviour through peer education and community awareness.