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One in five deaths among young women is a maternal death in Myanmar. Around 1700 women died due to maternal causes in 2015. 


The Problem


Myanmar has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios (MMR) in the south-east Asian nations. Despite this, Myanmar has seen significant progress from 1990 in reducing maternal deaths, seeing the MMR drop from 580 (per 100,000 live births), to 200 in 2013. Most maternal deaths are caused by treatable conditions such as bleeding and infection.

The under-5 mortality rate in Myanmar is 51 per 1000 live births. 6% of these deaths are caused by neonatal sepsis, infection striking within the first month of life.


Our Work


The Soapbox Collaborative began working with Wateraid in 2017 by assisting with a programme to improve maternity services in Myanmar. Funded by UNICEF, WaterAid is working with the Government of Myanmar and key stakeholders to assess the need for Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in healthcare facilities. This will seek to address current gaps in information on infection prevention and control (IPC) and good hygiene practices and build a longer-term programme of improvements.

In June 2017, Dr Sandra Virgo visited Myanmar to assist with the preparation of needs assessments for 30 health facilities.

In 2018, Soapbox continues to work with WaterAid and country partners on the ‘Supporting Safe Births in Myanmar’ project. The project seeks to improve the quality and safety of healthcare at the time of birth. Focusing on hygiene and cleanliness, Soapbox will support the design of the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) process that will identify and prioritise WASH-related needs, and support monitoring and evaluation.

Our Impact


Soapbox provides technical advice in our specialist areas of environmental hygiene, IPC, maternal and newborn care practices. We are assisting with the development of the needs assessment methodology and tools and training materials for local health professionals to undertake the data gathering.


Our Partners


  • Wateraid Myanmar
  • WHO
  • The Burnett Institute
  • Jhpiego
  • The Government of Myanmar
  • Myanmar Women’s Affairs Federation