Nay Pyi Taw, 11 July Women and girls are most vulnerable in emergencies, with their health needs often neglected, Vice President Dr Sai Mauk Kham said Saturaday at a Kham said Saturaday at a ceremony to mark World Population Day 2015.

          The United Nations has announced 11 July as World Population Day since 1987, when the word’s population hit five billion. This year’s theme is “Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies,” with the aim of ensuring women’s and adolescent girls’ right to sexual and reproductive health is protected and their safety guaranteed during conflicts and disasters.Today, the world has a population of over 7.3 billion, with population growth posing considerable challenges.

          The vice president cited a study saying nearly 4 percent of women and girls in emergencies are likely to get pregnant, with 15 percent expected to encounter reproductive health complications.

          Widespread conflicts and diasters across the world have forced over 50 million people to leave their homes, three-quarters of them women and children. The number of displaced people is projected to hit 78 million next year.

          According to the Ministry of Health, Myanmar has over 900,000 pregnant women annually, with more than 2,000 dying in child birth.

          Dr Sai Mauk Kham urged the ministry to place greater emphasis on health care for women, mothers and children, noting the country has a higher infant mortality rate than its neighbours, with 62 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births. Union Minister U Khin Yi and country representative Ms Janet E Jackson explained functions of the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA).