Ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights for youth and adolescents in Myanmar through innovation amid COVID-19 pandemic and political crisis

7 Sep 2022 

YANGON, Myanmar— “There is social stigma existing in our community to speak about sexual and reproductive health especially concerning adolescents and youth. People are too shy to talk about it. Since we have grown up under this shadow, we don’t even know that young people have the right to access sexual and reproductive health information,” said Thura, 15, a local youth from Yangon.

Young people in Myanmar face different social and cultural barriers to get right information about sexual and reproductive health and rights. Without having access to sexual and reproductive health information including family planning, young people tend to experience consequences such as unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion, leading to other life-threatening complications. According to 2014 Myanmar Population and Housing Census, the fertility rate of females aged 15-19 was 33 births per 1,000 women. Comparing to urban areas, the teenage fertility is higher in rural areas of states and regions. The data highlights the needs to enhance protection and promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and young people in remote places and in areas undergoing humanitarian crisis.

Continued: https://reliefweb.int/report/myanmar/ensuring-sexual-and-reproductive-health-and-rights-youth-and-adolescents-myanmar-through-innovation-amid-covid-19-pandemic-and-political-crisis

How Bangladesh Made Abortion Safer

How Bangladesh Made Abortion Safer
The government’s effort to help Rohingya victims of wartime rape has lessons for the world.

By Patrick Adams
Dec. 28, 2018

No one knows how many Rohingya became pregnant as a result of rape by the Myanmar military. No one knows how many babies were born to survivors of sexual violence living among the 750,000 Rohingya in camps in Bangladesh.

The systematic sexual violence against the Rohingya reminded many in Bangladesh of their own painful history: During Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971, the Pakistani military and local collaborators killed about 300,000 civilians and raped and tortured as many as 400,000 women and girls.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/28/opinion/rohingya-bangladesh-abortion.html

Displaced Rohingya women need access to abortion, not just food and shelter

Displaced Rohingya women need access to abortion, not just food and shelter
Thousands of Rohingya women and girls have been systematically raped by Myanmar's military

Anu Kumar and Sandeep Prasad
for CBC News
Posted: Sep 29, 2018

Rape is still being used as an instrument of war. Right now. Before our very eyes.

We know that since August 2017, thousands of Rohingya women and girls have been systematically raped by Myanmar military as a way to humiliate, terrify and dominate the Rohingya communities. In fact, Canadian parliamentarians recently unanimously voted to declare the systemic rape and killing of Rohingya an act of genocide.

Continued: https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/rohingya-women-1.4843335

Social workers and doctors team up to defend the life, health and dignity of women inside Myanmar’s camps

Social workers and doctors team up to defend the life, health and dignity of women inside Myanmar’s camps

Report from United Nations Population Fund
Published on 02 Jul 2018

“Very bad things happen during religious festivals. Most community members go to join in the ceremonies, and those women who remain at home are very vulnerable. Perpetrators find out who has stayed behind – often widows – and go into their homes and violate the women. There are no locks on the doors, no protection. For a few hours, everywhere is deserted, and there is no-one who can hear or heed calls for help.”

Myint Myint Htay – Htay for short – is a gender-based violence caseworker in a camp for displaced people in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. While the attention is on the over 700,000 people who have fled persecution and violence in Myanmar to Bangladesh since last August, nearly 130,000 people who identify as Rohingya remain in camps in Myanmar. Confined to the camps, they lack basic services and rights, including freedom of movement. Their plight is largely unseen by the world.

Continued: https://reliefweb.int/report/myanmar/social-workers-and-doctors-team-defend-life-health-and-dignity-women-inside-myanmar-s

Opinion: Rohingya women have suffered enough. They don’t deserve discriminatory health care.

Opinion: Rohingya women have suffered enough. They don't deserve discriminatory health care.
By Anu Kumar, Sayed Rubayet
14 December 2017

Rape has been used as a weapon of war in conflicts all over the world. And has been used against women and girls caught up in the massive humanitarian crisis involving Rohingya refugees.

In the past few months, nearly 600,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh, and more continue to seek refuge every day. The camps are overcrowded. The smell of waste and small fires for cooking and sweat hangs in the humid, thick air. Tents fashioned out of reeds and tarps perch precariously in the mud. Throngs of people crowd the latrines and newly dug wells. And these conditions are better than those in the makeshift camps, where thousands of unregistered refugees are living.

Continued at source: https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-rohingya-women-have-suffered-enough-they-don-t-deserve-discriminatory-health-care-91751

Life or death: Giving birth in Burma

Life or death: Giving birth in Burma
Report from Democratic Voice of Burma

By LIBBY HOGAN / DVB, 3 November 2017

Cer Lui had to make a split decision — to either drive herself to the hospital more than six hours away by motorbike, or stay in her home with her seven children — and deliver her baby.

When her husband found her, she had bled to death due to post-delivery bleeding.

She’s just one of 2,800 women in Burma who die every year from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Continued at source: https://reliefweb.int/report/myanmar/life-or-death-giving-birth-burma

Backstreet abortion clinics are killing Myanmar’s women

Backstreet abortion clinics are killing Myanmar’s women
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 May, 2017

Agence France-Presse

Thiri’s heart started pounding and her whole body shook after she swallowed the final dose of pills that would end her unwanted pregnancy in a Yangon hotel.

Her boyfriend had abandoned her after finding out she was pregnant – a familiar story in Myanmar, where many consider women “ruined” if they have sex before marriage.

Continued at source: South China Morning Post: http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2092304/backstreet-abortion-clinics-are-killing-myanmars-women

Myanmar: Doctors say survey underestimates number of women dying from botched abortions

by Htike Nanda Win | Monday, 31 October 2016

Women denied the right to an abortion are injuring and killing themselves in an attempt to end their pregnancies, doctors and specialists say. In Yangon’s Central Women’s Hospital, it is estimated that from one-third to half of pregnancy deaths occur because of botched abortions, often carried out by the women themselves.

The two main causes of maternal mortality are heavy blood loss after birth, known as menorrhagia, and related infections. Many of the women brought to hospital arrive too late to be saved, said obstetrics and gynaecology specialist Dr Soe Lwin, an associate professor at the hospital.

“Of every 10 pregnant women who die in our hospital, six have had unsafe abortions,” he said. “A patient suffering from menorrhagia can die within the hour. A woman who becomes infected after an unsafe abortion can suffer for a long time. And, if she is not brought to hospital in time, she will die.”

[continued at link]
Source: Myanmar Times

Providing safe illegal abortions in Myanmar is a ‘karmic balance,’ says one doctor

This story is a part of a series: Body Politics: The struggle for access to reproductive rights

PRI's The World
September 08, 2016 · 5:00 PM EDT
By Shaina Shealy

Dr. Su Su Yin was doing surgical rounds at Yangon Central Women’s Hospital when a friend came to her with a problem — she was unmarried and pregnant. She asked Dr. Yin for an abortion.

But abortion has long been illegal in Myanmar, except for cases when a woman’s life is at risk. And anyone who assists illegal abortion can face up to three years in prison.

So Dr. Yin told her friend she would not provide an abortion. Days later, she got a phone call from the same friend who complained of a stomachache. Yin says she went to her friend’s house, where she was hit by a foul smell. Her friend had developed a near-fatal infection after getting an abortion at a clinic.

[continued at link]
Source: PRI.org