Why pathfinder works in Myanmar
Pathfinder International has a historical commitment to Myanmar, having played a major part in the formation of the Family Planning Association of Myanmar (then Burma) in 1960. Today, Pathfinder advocates for increased resources for funding for family planning and sexual and reproductive health services in Myanmar. Pathfinder also works closely with national and local stakeholders to improve the policy environment, increasing support for family planning programs.
Myanmar faces a high rate of maternal mortality and hopes to achieve an ambitious goal of lowering that rate from 240 per 100,000 live births to 105 per 100,000 live births by 2015 as a part of its Millennium Development Goals. Many maternal deaths still occur in rural areas, where women are less likely to give birth in a health facility or receive assistance from a skilled health provider. Poverty, unsafe abortion, rough terrain, and a shortage of midwives are also major contributors to maternal deaths. 1 in 5 women in Myanmar are unable to access contraception to delay, time, and space their pregnancies, representing a tremendous unmet need.
Recognizing Myanmar's need for quality sexual and reproductive health services, Pathfinder continues to explore, identify, and advocate avenues for increasing access to family planning. Pathfinder has worked closely with key stakeholders such the national Ministry of Health, multilateral agencies such as UNFPA and WHO, and international NGOs to increase understanding of Myanmar's need for family planning programs and assistance.
For the past three years, Pathfinder has received funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to support efforts to scale up best global practices in family planning and related reproductive health services. In July 2014, we supported the organization of a Family Planning Best Practices Conference in Naypyitaw with the Myanmar government, which will be followed by a series of workshops at the state levels to reach more townships with state-of-the-art technical information and instructional materials, and to provide opportunities for township health staff to share ongoing effective practices and innovations. The work continues in close collaboration with the Department of Health, with advice and support of local and international NGO partners and donor agencies.
Pathfinder will work with the Ministry of Health to improve the availability of contraceptive supplies by providing necessary technical assistance, coordination and financial support to address the shortage of injectables and implants.
Pathfinder continues to explore, identify, and advocate for increasing attention and funding for sexual and reproductive health programs in Myanmar.
The set of cue cards is designed to help a range of community- and facility-based providers to counsel adolescents and young people on their contraceptive options.