MYANMAR

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT ADOLESCENTS

There are approximately 16 million young people (10-24 years) in Myanmar – 28% of the population [1]

Myanmar’s population is in its last stage of demographic transition where there is a decline in the proportion of those under 15 years of age and an increase in the population from 15 to 49 years of age and for the elderly population of over 60 years. A pattern of declining fertility below replacement level and low dependency ratio, with an increase in the working age group, is regarded as a demographic window of opportunity[2].

[1] Myanmar Population and Housing Census, 2014

[2] Five-Year Strategic Plan for Young People’s Health 2016-2020, Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Myanmar, 2015

HEALTH

Sexual and reproductive health

  • Myanmar has one of the most severe HIV/AIDS epidemics in Asia. The HIV prevalence rate for the adult population was 0.53% in 2011 with an estimated 240,000 people living with HIV
  • HIV prevalence among female sex workers aged 15-19 years is 5.5% and 7.9% for 20-24 year olds
  • 1% and 8.6% HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) aged 15-19 and 20-24 years in 2013 respectively

Early marriage

According to the Five-Year Strategic Plan for Young People’s Health (2016-2020)[1]:

  • Overall 7.4% of adolescent girls aged 15-19 are married
  • Nearly 2% of married adolescent girls have had their first birth before age 15 and over 25% had their first birth before age 20
  • A greater proportion of adolescents begin childbearing in rural areas (57%) than in urban areas (47%)

Adolescent pregnancy

According to the Fertility and Reproductive Health Survey 2007[2]:

  • There are 16.9 live births per thousand female adolescents and its contribution to total fertility is 4-5%
  • Mean age at first birth in Myanmar has increased form 21.2 years in 2001 to 22.8 years in 2006
  • Only 1.5 to 2% of women have had their first birth before the age of 15
  • 10% of women aged 15-49 have given birth before the age of 18
  • The low proportion of women giving birth in their teens can be attributed to the high age at first marriage or it could also be due to a high abortion rate of 11.4% of teenage ever-married

Nutrition

According to the Five-Year Strategic Plan for Young People’s Health (2016-2020)[3]:

  • A total of 45% of non-pregnant women of reproductive age and 26% of adolescent school girls are anemic
  • Nutritional status of adolescent students in 2002 reported stunting of growth among 37.6% of boys and 30.4% of girls

Substance use and abuse (tobacco, alcohol and other substances)

According to the Global Youth and Tobacco Survey (2011)[4]

  • The prevalence of tobacco use among school going young people as follows: (GYTS 2011)
  • 6% currently use any tobacco products (Boys = 30.0%, Girls = 6.8%)
  • 8% currently smoke cigarettes (Boys = 13.0%, Girls = 0.5%)
  • 2% currently use any other smokeless tobacco products other than betel quid (Boys = 6.9%, Girls = 1.4%)
  • 4% currently used tobacco products other than cigarettes (Boys = 27.8%, Girls = 6.7%)
  • 8% currently use any smoked tobacco products (Boys = 23.5%, Girls = 3.6%)
  • Prevalence of Smoking among male students (13-18 years) was 23.5% and smokeless tobacco use was 15.2%

[1] Five-Year Strategic Plan for Young People’s Health 2016-2020, Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Myanmar, 2015

[2] Country Report on 2007 Fertility and Reproductive Health Survey, Department of Population and UNFPA, 2009

[3] Five-Year Strategic Plan for Young People’s Health 2016-2020, Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Myanmar, 2015

[4] Myanmar 2011 Country Report Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS)

EDUCATION

  • Literacy rates among the youth (aged 15-24) ranged from 94.5% for males and 93.5% for females in 2014.
  • This is turn means that still around 6% are illiterate which amounts to half a million people in absolute numbers.
  • Among the population aged 25 and over even 16% of the total population never had any schooling.
  • School enrolment peaks at age 9 where nearly 85% of all children are enrolled.
  • While gender differences remain small in regards to primary and secondary school enrolment, more women than men attend tertiary education: Out of the 1.9 million university graduates, 1.1 million were female.

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EMPLOYMENT

  • Over half of the young population aged 15-19 is involved in economic activities.
  • With over 60% far more young men are participating in the labour market than young females (nearly 45%).
  • Child labour is still a striking problem in Myanmar as it is reported that over half a million children aged 10-14 are currently working and another 77.000 are looking for work. The census didn’t include children under the age of 10 but it can be speculated that a certain percentage is engaged in the labour market as well instead of attending school.
  • Unemployment is another pressing issue for young people: In urban areas 10.7% of the people aged 20-24 were unemployed and 7.5% in rural areas.
  • Especially young people with a university degree have paradoxically a five times higher risk of becoming unemployed than people with no or limited education.

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