Among the victims of the 49 year military dictatorship which controlled Myanmar until 2011, are thousands of children. According to U.N. data, between 56,000 to 70,000 children under 5 die each year, about 1 in 15, and the majority of these deaths are caused by curable diseases. A systemic lack of infrastructure due to near total neglect of healthcare spending, education for parents, lack of sanitation systems, and rampant poverty and malnutrition, have left Myanmar’s smallest citizens extremely vulnerable to even the most common of childhood diseases. They die from Malaria, Dengue, Diarrhea, and other ailments which can be cured if treated properly. In rural Myanmar, families are frequently several day’s journey from the nearest trained midwife, let alone a hospital. And in urban areas, the costs of transportation or taking time off work are frequently prohibitive for the parents of sick children, let alone the costs of medicine. As the country struggles toward democratic reforms there is now hope that much needed reforms will bring more safety to Myanmar’s children, but there is much work to be done.
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