New politics, an opportunity for maternal health advancement in eastern Myanmar: An integrative review
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Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a southeast Asian country, with a long history of military dictatorship, human rights violations, and poor health indicators. The health situation is particularly dire among pregnant women in the ethnic minorities of the eastern provinces (Kachin, Shan, Mon, Karen and Karenni regions). This integrative review investigates the current status of maternal mortality in eastern Myanmar in the context of armed conflict between various separatist groups and the military regime. The review examines the underlying factors contributing to high maternal mortality in eastern Myanmar and assesses gaps in the existing research, suggesting areas for further research and policy response. Uncovered were a number of underlying factors uniquely contributing to maternal mortality in eastern Myanmar. These could be grouped into the following analytical themes: ongoing conflict, health system deficits, and political and socioeconomic influences. Abortion was interestingly not identified as an important contributor to maternal mortality. Recent political liberalization may provide space to act upon identified roles and opportunities for the Myanmar Government, the international community, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in a manner that positively impacts on maternal healthcare in the eastern regions of Myanmar. This review makes a number of recommendations to this effect.
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