[Source - AP]
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) Hundreds of children under age 5 die from preventable diseases each day in military-ruled Myanmar, the second-worst mortality rate for children in Asia after Afghanistan, U.N. officials said Wednesday.
Dr. Osamu Kunii, the nutrition expert in Myanmar for the U.N. Children's Fund, said there were 100,000 to 150,000 child deaths per year in the country or between 274 and 411 daily.
He was speaking at a briefing by UNICEF for its annual report on ''The State of the World's Children,'' released Tuesday. The under-5 mortality rate is a critical indicator of the well-being of children.
About 21 percent of child deaths in Myanmar are caused by acute respiratory infection, followed by pneumonia, diarrhea and septicemia.
The report rated Myanmar as having the 40th highest child mortality rate in the world, surpassed in Asia only by Afghanistan, which has the third-worst record after Sierra Leone and Angola.
It said, however, the death rate for young children in Myanmar had been reduced by 1.6 percent between 1990 and 2006.
In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked Myanmar's overall health care system as the world's second worst after war-ravaged Sierra Leone. Tens of thousands of people in Myanmar die each year from malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, dysentery, diarrhea and other illnesses.
Most of Myanmar's health care is funded by international sources, with the government spending only about 3 percent on health annually, compared with 40 percent on the military, according to a report published this year by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University.
(Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
[Source - AP]