Myanmar has the second highest rate of infant mortality in ASEAN, with newborns making up over half of the deaths among children under five. Malnutition is the main underlying cause, which exacerbates direct causes of childhood mortality such as diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria.
Myanmar is also home to the third highest malnutrition rate in Southeast Asia. In total, 29% of children under-five years old are chronically undernourished while 7% suffer from acute malnutrition.
Supporting pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children during their first 1000 days is critical to reducing levels of anemia and stunting in children and to ensuring that children grow into healthy adults.
Plan International Myanmar's Maternal, Newborn and Child Health programme monitors the growth of children under 5 and refers those with chronic or acute malnutrition to health facilities for treatment. The program has held cooking demonstrations so parents can learn how to prepare more nutritious and locally-available food for their families. Parents have also participated in handwashing and sanitation training so they and their children can avoid water-bourne diseases, such as diarrhea.
Parents of children under 5 years of age have also received support to start their own home gardens, where they will grow their own vegetables that will support a healthy and balanced diet.