Meeting with reproductive health advocates and private sector leaders, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, wrapped up a three-day visit to Burma on Wednesday.
He met with participants in the Myanmar Medical Association’s Youth Development Programme and discussed their efforts to raise young people’s awareness on reproductive health issues including HIV prevention.
Empowering young people is a priority for UNFPA, he said, and he encouraged young people to become involved in developing policies to promote their health, education and employment prospects.
On Tuesday, he met with Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann and members of the Parliamentary Committee on Population and Social Development.
Before leaving the capital, he discussed plans for the 2014 census with Khin Yi, the minister of Immigration and Population.
On Monday, he met with President Thein Sein and with Aung San Suu Kyi to focus on ways the UN can help advance Burma’s development and reform process, including through its support for the census.
At the offices of Parliament, Osotimehin inaugurated the Parliamentary Committee on Population and Social Development’s information library and answered members’ questions about a range of social concerns.
The committee, created in 2011, includes lawmakers from various political parties and ethnic groups.
Osotimehin discussed the need for a comprehensive national health plan, and for policies, legislation and funding to improve reproductive health care and save women’s lives; for example, by ensuring free voluntary birth spacing services for the poor, and improving access to a wide range of contraceptive choices.