YANGON, Myanmar — Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, wrapped up his three-day visit to Myanmar today, meeting with young reproductive health advocates and private sector leaders.
On Tuesday, at the Parliament in Nay Pyi Taw, he had discussions with Speaker of Parliament Thura U Shwe Mann and members of the Parliamentary Committee on Population and Social Development.
Before leaving the capital he met with U Khin Yi, Minister of Immigration and Population, to discuss plans for the 2014 census, Myanmar’s first in 31 years.
As with the Executive Director’s talks on Monday with President U Thein Sein and with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, these meetings focused on ways the Fund can help advance Myanmar’s development and reform process, including through its support for the census, strengthened reproductive health services, and the development of a comprehensive youth policy.
At the offices of Parliament, Dr. Osotimehin inaugurated the Parliamentary Committee on Population and Social Development’s information library and answered members’ questions about a range of social concerns.
The Committee, created in 2011, includes lawmakers from various political parties and ethnic groups. Dr. Osotimehin spoke to them about the need for a comprehensive national health plan, and for policies, legislation and funding to improve reproductive health care and save women’s lives, for example, by ensuring free voluntary birth spacing services for the poor, and improving access to a wide range of contraceptive choices.
In his meeting with U Khin Yi, the Executive Director reaffirmed UNFPA’s support for the census and underscored the importance of conducting it according to UN international standards and counting all population groups.
This morning, he met with participants in the Myanmar Medical Association’s Youth Development Programme and heard about their efforts to raise young people’s awareness on reproductive health issues including HIV prevention. He said that empowering young people is a priority for UNFPA, and told them that the national leaders he met with in Nay Pyi Taw had welcomed his offer to help the country engage young people in developing policies to promote their health, education and employment prospects.