A new US$ 300 million, five-year programme to benefit pregnant women and children in Burma has been assembled under the Three Millennium Development Goals Fund, to be administered by the government and the U.N.
Seven donors who earlier provided $138 million to fight HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria under the Three Diseases Fund from 2006-12 have now pledged $300 million to improve the health of pregnant women and young children.
Following a meeting this week with the Ministry of Health, the fund will develop a programme to offer health services to people with the greatest need. The donors consist of the governments of Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom in association with the European Union, according to a press statement.
Veronique Lorenzo, the head of operations of the European Union Delegation, will be the first chairperson for the fund.
“Over the next five years the fund aims to assist the government in building a strong health network in Myanmar,” he said. “We are happy to be working closely with the Ministry of Health, and we will be helping them strengthen their systems and capacity to deliver quality basic health to the people of Myanmar.”
The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) will manage the distribution of the grant funds.
Niels Guenther of UNOPS is in charge of the planning process for the new programme.
“UNOPS is very pleased to be selected as fund manager for this new programme following on from the successes of 3DF with our partners. It comes at a very good time as Myanmar is showing a great willingness to develop. We have an excellent opportunity to help create a sustainable health system in the country,” he said.
Some resources will continue to be directed towards HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria after 3DF closes operations this year. This will help supplement the programme in other areas, which it is currently unable to support, such as the fight against the spread of malaria resistant to the critical drug artimisinin.
UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations that helps its partners implement more than $1 billion worth of aid and development projects each year, often in challenging environments.
In Burma, it currently administers funds for the Three Diseases Fund, the Global Fund fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) and the Joint Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.