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NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar — Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, met today with key national leaders to explore how the Fund can further support Myanmar’s development and its reform process.

In a dialogue at the President’s office, President U Thein Sein and Dr. Osotimehin discussed the UNFPA-supported 2014 census, ways to strengthen reproductive health services, and the need for a comprehensive youth policy.

Meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Executive Director sought the Nobel laureate’s support in addressing shared concerns including the well-being and empowerment of young people and women’s reproductive health.

Dr. Osotimehin also met Minister of Health Dr. Pe Thet Khin, other senior government figures and members of Parliament.

The President thanked UNNFPA for its assistance in developing plans for the first enumeration of the country’s population in 31 years. Dr. Osotimehin stressed the importance of following UN international standard for conducting a census and including all population groups in the count.

Discussions about reproductive health focused on the need to improve maternal health care and make contraceptive methods more available, to reduce unintended pregnancies and abortions and save women’s and children’s lives. This calls for increasing supplies, training health workers, revising service policies, addressing legal barriers and ensuring adequate funding.

UNFPA support to Myanmar aims, among other goals, to strengthen the health system’s human resources and management, increase access to youth-friendly reproductive health services, and promote healthy behaviour through peer education and community awareness.

Dr. Osotimehin will meet Tuesday with Speaker of Parliament Thura U Shwe Mann and members of the recently formed Parliamentary Committee on Population and Social Development. On Wednesday he will confer with Myanmar Medical Association leaders in Yangon.