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Ninh Thuan: Launch of First-Ever Provincial Situation Analysis of Children

Ninh Thuan province, Viet Nam, 21 August 2012 – Results from the first-ever comprehensive analysis of the situation of children in Ninh Thuan were today released by the Provincial People’s Committee and the United Nations Children’s Fund. The Analysis’ findings highlight the province’s remarkable progress across a broad spectrum of children’s issues, in line with its socio-economic development achievements in recent years.

The province’s overall social expenditure increased by more than 36 per cent during 2005- 2009, with expenditure on healthcare, education and social welfare increasing by 114 per cent during this period. “This has contributed to the improvements in education, health and survival outcomes for children. More children in Ninh Thuan are now in school; birth registration, health insurance and child vaccination have become routine; child mortality has decreased and many more children have access to clean water and sanitation,” said Jesper Moller, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Viet Nam.

The Analysis also emphasises the significant challenges faced by children in Ninh Thuan, especially those from Co Ho and Raglay ethnic minority groups and those living in mobile fishing communities. For example, the province’s infant mortality rate is 23 per 1,000 live births, higher than regional and national rates. The stunting rate among children under five years of age remains high, at almost 32 per cent in 2010. Only half of rural people in Ninh Thuan use safe water according to Ministry of Health quality standards, while the province has the fourth-highest rate of new HIV infections nationwide, at 34 per 100,000. The literacy rate amongst females over 15 years old in Ninh Thuan was recorded at 83 per cent, amongst the lowest in the country.

The Analysis also identifies major patterns of intra-provincial disparity and household vulnerability that affect the situation of children. These include differences between urban and rural and upland and coastal areas, differences in the socio-economic situations of different ethnic minority groups, and climate change and environmental vulnerability.

The poverty rate, according to the Analysis, in Bac Ai district - where nearly 90 per cent of the population is Raglay ethnic minority people, is almost nine times greater than that of Phan Rang-Thap Cham City (67 vs 7 per cent). The rate of underweight children in Bac Ai district (39 per cent) is also more than double that of Phan Rang-Thap Cham City (14 per cent). Only 18 per cent of people in Bac Ai district have access to appropriate sanitary latrines, compared to 74 per cent in Ninh Hai district. Meanwhile, nearly 90 per cent of communes or wards in Ninh Hai district reached national health standards, but no commune in Bac Ai or Thuan Nam districts reached these standards. Maternal and child health indicators amongst the Raglay ethnic minority group continue to be poorer than among other groups.

This Analysis is part of a series of provincial situation analyses that UNICEF Viet Nam has initiated to support provinces under its cooperation programme with the government. The initiative aims to assist provinces’ planning and budgeting, including Socio-Economic Development Plans (SEDPs) as well as sectoral plans, to make them more child-sensitive and evidence-based. The Analysis provides recommendations to improve children’s situation by making provincial SEDPs and sector plans more responsive to children’s issues.
 
“We all have a responsibility regarding the care, protection and education of children and I believe that we will actively participate in this workshop to further address the issues highlighted in this report,” said Vo Dai, Vice Chair of Ninh Thuan People’s Committee at the launching event. “I would like to request all related departments in the province to use the results of this important report in developing their action plans, including budget, resource, monitoring and evaluation plans,” he added.

“Provincial authorities’ strong leadership for children, that we have witnessed through our many years of cooperation with Ninh Thuan, makes me optimistic that the future is bright for the children of Ninh Thuan province. I call upon the leadership of Ninh Thuan to implement the key recommendations as identified in this Analysis and to ensure sufficient resources are allocated to address children’s issues. UNICEF stands ready to assist in any way we can,” said Moller.

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About UNICEF

UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF Viet Nam and its work visit: www.unicef.org/vietnam

Full report can be downloaded at http://www.unicef.org/vietnam/resources_19396.html

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