Health in Myanmar: A human-rights based approach (The Lancet)

Health and Transition

The Lancet, June 23, 2012

“To be forgotten, too, is to die a little”, said Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi when she addressed the Nobel Prize Committee in Oslo, Norway, on June 16, 2012. Myanmar seems to be making the difficult and fragile transition from military dictatorship to fledgling democracy.

An editorial in the Lancet journal — based in part on a study done by CPI and our partners the Back Pack Health Worker Team and Johns Hopkins University — highlights the need for a rights-based approach to health in Myanmar. Link to the full editorial, below.

"In Burma, human rights abuses by the military junta, economic sanctions, and natural disasters have resulted in internal conflict and the forced migration of an estimated 340 000 people within the country, and worldwide, millions of refugees. Burma has some of the worst health indicators in the world. Life expectancy is 56 years. The 2012 Countdown to Maternal and Child Health Report documents insufficient progress on child health—the mortality rate for children aged 5 years and younger is 56 per 1000 live births, and around 40% of all Burmese children younger than 5 years old are moderately stunted. The solution? The goverment, says the Lancet editors 'must begin to shift resources from the military back to the health of its people.'"

The Prosthesis Olympics, Thailand-Myanmar Border. Eastern Myanmar has one of the highest rates of landmine injuries and deaths in the world. Gathering at a refugee camp to compete in a variety of sports, injured men, women and children show how they overcome the odds to survive and thrive.(photo: Dang Ngo)