Child survival and good health are the foundations of national development and prosperity. In Myanmar, many children still struggle to achieve the right start in life. Myanmar still has one of the highest mortality rates for children under the age of five in the ASEAN region.
According to the 2014 census, the mortality rate for under-fives was 50 deaths per 1,000 live births, most of them within the first month of life. Most deaths could have been prevented through effective health, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation interventions, delivered through a strengthened health care system. Many children in Myanmar struggle to access adequate nutrition.
Only 16 per cent of young children receive a minimum acceptable and adequately diverse diet. The rate of stunting among children under 5 has dropped from 35.1 per cent in 2009, but remains high at 29 per cent.
In some states, regions or townships, stunting prevalence is as high as 41 per cent. The poorest children are most affected, with 38 per cent stunted compared to only 16 per cent of children in the wealthiest households. Inadequate hygiene and sanitation also contribute to chronic and acute malnutrition. Maternal undernutrition poses serious risks for both mother and child, including low birth weight for the newborn child and susceptibility to disease.