Malnutrition is the leading cause of deaths for 40 percent of disease-ridden children in Myanmar, says Union Minister Dr. Pe Thet Khin from the Ministry of Health to the Pyithu Hluttaw (House of Representatives) on 10 July.
“The diseases can be caught easily due to lack of nutrition. They could die without resistance once the disease gets into their bodies,” he says.
Determining whether the child has adequate nutrition levels has to also take the mother's state of health and mortality rates into account. Dr. Pe Thet Khin added that 60 percent of women who die from blood loss is also due to the lack of nutrition.
Dr. Pe Thet Khin admitted that health care is especially weak in border and suburban areas including villages where 70 percent of the country’s population is located. He promised the members of parliament to accelerate tasks in reducing the gap in standard of health care between cities and villages.
In May this year, UNICEF announced that according to a 3-year survey led by the UN, 2.5 million children were undersized due to malnutrition, and 200,000 children have died due to malnutrition.
As a response, Dr. Pe Thet Khin took action to fight against child malnutrition by joining Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) - a global movement by the efforts of nation leaders and organizations dedicated to address the malnutrition problem.
“An individual’s health status, whether malnourished or well-nourished, is not an individual matter. It also impacts the country’s economy and education,” says Dr Pe Thet Khin at the signing ceremony for SUN held at the Ministry of Health in Naypyitaw.
For the current 2013-2014 fiscal year, the Hluttaw has granted a budget of nearly five hundred billion kyats to the Ministry of Health.