World Bank hopes to improve infant health

The Essential Health Services Access Project aims to provide US$100 million in funding for increased and improved coverage of critical health services in Myanmar’s 330 townships. 

The project – initially approved by the World Bank’s board of executive directors last October – is expected to benefit more than 4 million pregnant women and young children.  

The government signed an agreement with the World Bank to bring improved maternal, newborn and child healthcare to millions of mothers and young children.

“We are pleased to be able to invest in quality health services for all people in Myanmar. Better health services will improve the quality of life for mothers and their young children and ultimately will help bring us closer to achieving the ambitious goal of universal health coverage,” said Dr Thein Thein Htay, the deputy minister of health.

Under the project, communities will receive grants for health services at the local level and support for implementing inclusive planning, resource management, improved oversight and community engagement.

"Good maternal, newborn and child healthcare is critical for Myanmar. This project will help bring more and better essential health services to Myanmar mothers and children,” said Ulrich Zachau, World Bank country director for Southeast Asia.

For rural health centres, the grants might allow basic health staff, like midwives, to make more frequent visits to the homes of pregnant women, infants and young children to provide care, ensure timely immunisations and to give nutrition and hygiene education.

The project is supported with credit from the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries.

This support for Myanmar’s move towards universal health coverage is part of the World Bank’s US$2 billion multi-year development package.