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Research data in joint Myanmar government-USAID project helps health planning

New analyses from the Myanmar Demographic and Health Survey have been released to help with the scaling up of health services in Myanmar.

Professor Dr. Zaw Than Htun, Director General of Medical Research, Ministry of Health and Sports and Teresa McGhie, Mission Director, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) opened a day-long session during which 19 researchers shared new analyses of public health issues in Myanmar with donors and policymakers, according to a press release 5 July.

The researchers’ investigations included women’s empowerment and violence, maternal and reproductive health, child health, and nutrition, with a particular focus on regional and socioeconomic disparities.

The analyses were based on data collected in the 2015-16 Myanmar Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), the first-ever nationally representative DHS conducted in Myanmar, with funding from USAID and the Three Millennium Development Goal (3MDG) Fund. The Myanmar DHS interviewed 12,885 women and 4,737 men throughout Myanmar on topics ranging from education, to maternal and child health, nutrition, and HIV/AIDS.

Ms. McGhie said, “USAID is proud to have supported this essential tool for measuring and improving health outcomes as part of the $32 million per year the American people invest in the health of the people of Myanmar. Today we are seeing the real power of this data in helping policymakers to better understand and address disparities in access to health care.”

Since the release of the survey findings in 2017, USAID has supported Myanmar researchers and policymakers to conduct further analyses of DHS data to inform public health policy and decision-making. Fifty population and health professionals in Myanmar have received training and support to analyze and publish analyses of DHS data, and numerous analyses have been published by the DHS program and international journals. Participants included the University of Economics, the University of Public Health, the Ministry of Health and Sports, the Ministry of Planning and Finance, the University of Community Health, and the University of Medicine.

The U.S. Embassy, through its USAID Mission and other efforts is dedicated to building national capacity in Myanmar for generating and using health data for decision-making, and these capacity strengthening efforts have already contributed towards this goal. Several workshop participants have already gone on to conduct independent data analyses, others have trained colleagues and students to use DHS data, and a number made presentations at the Conference on Public Health Among Greater Mekong Sub-region Countries.

Source: Mizzima

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