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vMore than 50 high level officials, development partners and members of the media witnessed the landmark pledge by the Government of Myanmar to the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) initiative and committing to halve unmet needs for family planning by 2020, at a press conference held in Nay Pyi Taw, the capitol of Myanmar on 15 November 2013.

UNFPA together with the Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association (MMCWA), Marie Stopes International (MSI), Population Services International (PSI), USAID and DFID/UKAID praised the Government’s pledge to promote availability and voluntary use of modern contraceptive for women who wish to defer, delay or avoid getting pregnant. 

Kaori Ishikawa, UNFPA International Programme Coordinator said in the joint statement representing all of the developing partners that: “This commitment bolsters the Government of the Union of the Republic of Myanmar’s support for international human rights and women’s reproductive health. We look forward to strengthening our relationship and collaborate with the Ministry of Health in its national efforts to reach the goal of providing easy access to family planning, safe birth spacing, post natal care and sexual and reproductive health.” 

Approximately 1.8 million women of reproductive age, about one fourth of Myanmar women do no currently have access to modern contraceptives. With Myanmar signing up to the family planning commitment it will ensure that an estimated 900,000 women of reproductive age will have access to family planning or birth spacing as it is referred to in Myanmar. 

“Myanmar decision is a clear sign that the country is further aligning its women’s health programmes with global initiatives that impact on the welfare and sexual and reproductive health of couples and individuals. This commitment also underlines the country’s recognition of the central role that maternal and reproductive health play to achieve the country’s socio-economic reform agenda, as well as in accelerating the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for achievement by 2015, intended to address lagging worldwide access to reproductive health and skilled birth attendance services,” concluded Ms. Ishikawa. 

H.E. Dr. Thein Thein Htay, Deputy Minister of Health read out a statement announcing the family planning commitment on behalf of H.E. President Thein Sein on the 13th November 2013 at the 3rd International Family Planning Conference that is being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

With Myanmar in transition on the path of development backed by affirmed political commitments, our emphasis on social and human development, as time moves on has been expanded within the context of our national health plans,” said Dr. Thein Thein Htay. 

She went to say that: “We are marching forward on the track of inclusive development while ensuring that benefits of family planning reaches across the country benefitting all segments of society irrespective of their gender, economic, social and geographical status. Our destiny is nothing but more progress for the betterment of our entire populace.” 

Myanmar had first committed itself in the wake of the landmark Summit of Family Planning 2020, which was launched on 11 July 2012 in London, United Kingdom. At the Summit Heads of State and Governments pledged to reduce unmet needs for family planning across the globe. 

Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) works with governments, civil society, multi-lateral organisations, donors, the private sector and the research and development community to enable 120 million more women and girls to use contraceptives by 2020.