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Over half a million children saved in Myanmar

Myanmar, November 2013

The support of the Princess Inaara Foundation, in partnership with Ein Herz für Kinder, enabled PSI Myanmar to save 328, 100 children under the age of 5 from Pneumonia and 206,225 children from Diarrhea between 2010 and 2013. Under this program, also 306 Doctors and 1,387 Community Health Workers could be trained in the early diagnosis and provision of pneumonia care and treatment and 18,101 pneumonia awareness health talk sessions have been held to inform nearly 170,976 care givers in the remote areas of Myanmar about the deadly diseases.

In Myanmar, significant reductions in infant and under-five mortality rates have been witnessed over the last five years and Population Services International (PSI), an international health NGO, has been contributing to this success thanks to the support of the Princess Inaara Foundation. Over the past three years, the Foundation has funded a child health project to reduce mortality and morbidity among children under five in Myanmar through targeted interventions on pneumonia and diarrhea – the two leading causes of infant deaths in the Myanmar.

Leveraging a Network

PSI has been operating in Myanmar since 1999 and is now one of the largest NGOs in the country delivering significant health impact in nearly all townships in the areas of HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Reproductive Health and Child Health.

With support from over a dozen donors, PSI manages a social franchise network of approximately 1,500 private general practitioners and approximately 1,800 community health workers. These providers operate under PSI’s ‘SUN’ franchise network and offer services (including pneumonia and diarrhea) in even the most remote areas of Myanmar. With support from The Princess Inaara Foundation, PSI leveraged this network of health care providers and introduced to them tools, training and support to diagnose and treat over 300,000 cases of pneumonia (over three years) and to distribute over 200,000 diarrhea treatment kits (over one year). Hundreds of thousands of children in Myanmar are now able to reach their fullest potential, thanks to the Princess Inaara Foundation.

Improving Access

During her visit to Myanmar in 2012, Princess Inaara met a family from a peri-urban village on the outskirts of Yangon.

The mother earned the equivalent of $60 USD a month growing and selling vegetables at the local market, and she took her three year old son to one of PSI’s health providers following a prolonged high fever and deep chest cough. The doctor diagnosed the child with pneumonia and provided him with a five day course of amoxicillin antibiotics, supported through the Foundation. A few days later, the little boy went back to the doctor for a follow up visit and was on the road to recovery. A course of pneumonia treatment costs less than $1 USD in Myanmar and can save the lives of almost 1.5 million children under five who are diagnosed with pneumonia in Myanmar each year.

Increasing Coverage

The Foundation’s support enabled PSI to increase the reach and impact of its child health program by expanding its pneumonia and diarrhea treatment services into 43 new townships during the life of the project thereby bringing the total coverage of the program to 208 townships.

Achieving Impact

Under this project, PSI trained SUN doctors and SUN community health workers to recognize the signs and symptoms of pneumonia and diarrhea and prescribe treatment when needed and refer severe cases to the nearest hospitals, if necessary. SUN providers conducted behaviour change interventions targeting parents and caregivers to educate them on the general causes and symptoms of pneumonia and diarrhea, home-based care as well as the importance of seeking treatment. PSI’s communications strategy included the delivery of key messages through mass media, community health talks and information, education and communications materials. With the support of The Princess Inaara Foundation, PSI achieved significant health impact among children under five in Myanmar by averting 223,484 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for pneumonia and 13,440 DALYs for diarrhea.