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Viet Nam survey shows disparities for children and women persist

Ha Noi, 16 December 2011 – Viet Nam’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2010-2011 report, launched today in Ha Noi, reveals persisting disparities in the lives and well-being of children and women in Viet Nam, across regions, by gender, area of residence, wealth, and ethnicity.

The survey was carried out between 2010 and 2011 by the General Statistics Office (GSO) in close collaboration with various line ministries and UN agencies UNICEF and UNFPA. It provides a comprehensive, updated picture of the situation of children and women in Viet Nam.

“Work on the fourth round of the Viet Nam MICS started back in September 2010 and has seen the involvement of hundreds of committed individuals and numerous agencies, ensuring a robust and solid end product,” said Ms. Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Viet Nam’s Representative. “I would particularly like to applaud the work of the “army” of interviewers who criss-crossed the country, braving the heat and humidity in the south or the cold rain and the snow in the north, traveling in sometimes extreme conditions, to collect invaluable data.”

MICS is an international household survey initiative which UNICEF has used since the mid-1990s to assist countries in collecting and analysing data in order to monitor the situation of children and women. MICS findings have been used extensively as a basis for policy decisions and programme interventions, and for the purpose of stimulating public discussion on the living conditions of children and women.

In the area of immunisation, the report shows that just two out of five children between 12 and 23 months are fully immunised in Viet Nam. There is also a considerable gap between rural and urban areas, with one in two urban children fully immunised, compared to only one in three in rural areas.

In the field of water and sanitation, the MICS 2010-2011 findings reveal that more than seven out of ten Vietnamese have access to drinking water and improved sanitation facilities. However, a person living in a Kinh or Hoa household is more than twice as likely to have access to those facilities as a person living in an ethnic minority household.

While the report shows that nearly one in every four children under five in Viet Nam is stunted--that is, shorter than he or she should be for his or her age—it found that the stunting rate among ethnic minority children is twice as high as that among their Kinh or Hoa peers.

Similar results were seen in the area of women’s reproductive health. Most women aged 15-49 who gave birth in the two years preceding the survey received antenatal care at least once by skilled personnel, and two-third had the recommended four antenatal care visits. Nine out of ten deliveries took place in health facilities. However, significant disparities emerge by ethnicity: virtually all women in Kinh or Hoa households delivered in a health facility compared to three out of five women from ethnic minority households.

“The report provides evidence that ethnic minorities are not faring well in most surveyed areas,” Sylwander said. “The data generated by MICS 2010-2011 will allow policymakers to target their resources to those population groups that are in most need of attention and should be the focus of collective development efforts. This would allow the benefits of Viet Nam’s economic growth to reach women and children in all ethnic, economic and social groups.”

Promoting the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV is critical for reducing HIV prevalence. About one third of women who received antenatal care during their last pregnancy were tested for HIV. Significant disparities emerge by area of residence: women living in urban areas are twice as likely to have been tested compared to women living in rural areas (56 vs. 28 per cent). The percentage of those who were tested and told the results is much smaller (49 and 20 per cent).

This is the fourth round of MICS in Viet Nam, following those in 1996, 2000, and 2006. Results from the MICS will allow Viet Nam to better monitor progress toward national goals and global commitments, including the Millennium Development Goals, as the 2015 target year approaches.

“With more than 20 indicators belonging to the Millennium Development Goals collected and over 100 indicators relating to children and women incorporated, the Viet Nam MICS 2010-2011 provides important quantitative data that reflect achievements of the implementation of the National Programme of Action for Children 2001-2010 in Viet Nam, the MDGs, the Declaration and Action Plan for A World Fit for Children,” said Mr. Do Thuc, General Director of the GSO. “The report is also in time for the development of the National Programme of Action for Children 2011-2020,” he added.

"In-depth analysis of the MICS4 data will provide scientific evidence for the formulation of policies and programmes across a wide range of human development programs,” said UNFPA’s Viet Nam Representative Mr. Bruce Campbell. “This will work hand-in hand with data and analysis from other major sources of information such as the Population Census, the Annual Population Change Surveys and the Viet Nam Household Living Standards Surveys,” he added. “It is critical to utilise data from these sources to establish sound baselines against which development progress can be measured, and results demonstrated"

“Within the One-UN framework, UNICEF, UNFPA and other agencies are committed to continue supporting the Government of Viet Nam through our assistance to the General Statistics Office in the implementation of Viet Nam’s National Statistical Development Strategy 2011-2020,” Sylwander said. “Using the vital data from MICS will help us develop interventions to address poverty and inequities - not only to enhance the lives of children, but also to contribute to a culture of human rights and to improve social cohesion in Viet Nam’s society.”

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

About the Mission of the United Nations in Viet Nam
The United Nations, in partnership with the government and people of Viet Nam, works to ensure that all Vietnamese people enjoy an increasingly healthy and prosperous life with greater human dignity and expanded choices. Collectively and through its individual agencies, the United Nations cares and creates opportunities for the poor and most vulnerable, and for youth, to whom the future belongs.

In accordance with the United Nations Charter and Millennium Declaration, the United Nations advances the principles of equality and social justice, while providing impartial advice, technical expertise, access to global knowledge and local experience to meet Viet Nam's development challenges.

UNICEF works in 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 and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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For further information, please contact:
Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong; UN Communications Office;
Tel + 84 4 3822 4383 ext 118; 

Ms. Nguyen Hong Thanh; UN Communications Office;
Tel + 84 4 3822 4383 ext 118; 




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