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UNICEF calls for more funding for Myanmar children, women

Kyodo, 08 September 2005

The United Nations Children's Fund has called for greater international support to protect Myanmar's women and children, according to a statement released by the UNICEF country office in Yangon.

"UNICEF needs additional funding to protect more children and mothers in Myanmar against anemia and other causes of chronic malnutrition," the UNICEF statement dated Sept. 7 said.

UNICEF is working with Myanmar's health personnel to provide deworming medication for pregnant women and for children aged between 2 and 9 throughout the country since parasitic infections are among major underlying causes of anemia in Myanmar, the statement released at the end of the third annual Nutrition Promotion Week said.

Insufficient consumption of iron-rich foods, food insecurity, parasitic infections such as intestinal worms, and malaria, among other factors, could aggravate anemia in Myanmar, it said.
Anemic mothers die more often in childbirth, and are more likely to give birth to underweight children, it added.

UNICEF is also working with rural health services to provide about 70 million iron foliate tablets for 350,000 pregnant women across the country this year, as well as 207,000 bottles of iron syrup for children in target areas, the statement said.

Two billion people suffer from anemia worldwide, including approximately half of all preschool-age children and pregnant women in developing countries.

Anemia is even more prevalent among children and pregnant women in Myanmar, the UNICEF statement said.



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