Ambassador Scot Marciel’s Remarks
Midwifery Training School, Taunggyi
January 23, 2020, 9:00 a.m.
Thank you Principal Daw Haymar Soe Win for welcoming us to the Midwifery Training School, Taunggyi. Thank you Dr. Myint Myint Than, Deputy Director of Maternal and Child Health at Ministry of Health and Sports, and Dr. Thuzar Chit Tin, Shan State Health Director, for joining me to demonstrate our two countries’ shared commitment to saving lives at birth.
A big thank you to the nurses, midwives, and skilled birth attendants in every part of Shan State for your dedication to helping people and saving lives. Your commitment to continually improve your knowledge and skills to reduce the risks to mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth and the early days of a newborn’s life is so important and appreciated.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”, in honor of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, a trailblazer who demonstrated the skill that nursing professionals possess through her brave work during the 1800s. You deserve to be recognized every day.
Florence Nightingale is best known for her training of nurses in conflict zones during the Crimean War. Through trainings facilitated by the Access to Health Fund, the United States is proud to support health professionals who are following in Florence’s footsteps by ensuring that essential services reach communities living in conflict-affected areas.
In addition to collaborating with other bilateral donors to establish the $215 million Access to Health Fund, USAID has helped to update and roll out quality standards for maternal, neonatal, and child health service areas in Myanmar.
We have supported training for thousands of health workers in maternal and child health services across the country.
We collaborated with the Ministry of Health and Sports to certify Ethnic Health Organization trainers in basic emergency obstetric and newborn care, enabling them to pass these skills to health workers in areas not under government control.
We appreciate the State Health Department’s complementary efforts to provide skills-based training to midwives through their two Learning & Performance Improvement Centers, established with USAID support through the Maternal and Child Survival Program. We also appreciate the efforts of the Myanmar Nurse and Midwives Association, with whom we are partnering under the Essential Health project to improve standards of practice for all nurses and midwives.
The Ministry of Health and Sports has committed to achieving universal health coverage by 2030. I commit to continuing to look for opportunities where the U.S. Government might be able to help reduce obstacles or advocate for solutions to ensure all mothers and children in Shan State have access to essential lifesaving services.
I encourage nurses and midwives and skilled birth attendants as you continue your lifesaving work. I also encourage you to take a leadership role in engaging service providers, ranging from community-based groups to Ethnic Health Organizations, to ensure all women and children receive lifesaving services.