Friday, October 12, 2007

Health and Economic Development in Burma (Myanmar)

The regime has succeeded in maintaining economic growth of over 5 percent annually, earning it widespread trust by the people. Therefore, as far as I can see, there are few who are willing to challenge the government at the risk of their lives.

Yoichi Yamaguchi,
Japanese Ambassador to Myanmar 1995-97,
on October 10, 2007
You can read more of the former Japanese Ambassador's controversial views here. The best response to Yamaguchi is to present some data concerning the health of the Burmese people. Because the numbers speak for themselves:
  • growth rate 4-5%
  • budget allocates 2% for health care Vs. 40% for military
  • infectious disease rate is the equal of many African countries
  • one of the world's highest rates of tuberculosis (TB)
  • strains of drug-resistant TB and malaria are spreading
  • World Food Program (WFP) tries to feed 1.6 million Burmese, but largely prevented from doing so by the junta
  • One third of Burmese children under age five are "chronically malnourished" (WFP)
Source: The Economist. For more facts and figures about Burma, see this post.

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