Child Survival and Development
Child survival is at the heart of what UNICEF does. In Viet Nam, we focus on young childhood survival and development, with a key focus on immunization, maternal child health, nutrition and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene).
Increasing economic prosperity and social gains cannot hide widening gaps for Viet Nam’s 26 million children in accessing services and support, with serious impacts on children’s health and nutrition.
While dramatic progress has been made across a range of health indicators during the past two decades, inequities are still driven by ethnicity, household income, disadvantages of living in rural and mountainous areas and maternal education.
Today, 100 children under-5 still die of preventable causes, with the figure 3.5 times higher among ethnic minorities in northern mountainous areas.
An unfinished agenda remains in infant and young child nutrition to ensure every child has the best possible start in life, with 1.9 million children under-5 stunted and at risk from permanent physical and brain damage.
Clean water, sanitation and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children, yet many in rural Viet Nam are still at risk from water and sanitation-related diseases with three million children deprived of clean water.
Immunization has saved millions of lives and protected countless children in Viet Nam from illness and disability. Yet, coverage in mountainous, remote and ethnic minority-populated areas remains low and is compounded by misinformation that can erode public trust in national immunization efforts.
UNICEF’s health approach builds on our significant experience and history of action for child survival and development in Viet Nam, while evolving to meet the changing needs of children and society. As a trusted and committed partner, we continue to support the government to make meaningful and sustainable gains in health outcomes by drawing on our comparative advantages, experience and broad evidence base.
By targeting disadvantaged populations (children and caregivers living in rural or urban poverty, ethnic minorities, those living with disabilities or affected by natural disasters), we will sustainably reduce inequalities and deliver help to those who need it most.
UNICEF’s approach to health emphasizes the importance of multi-sector approaches to enhance child development and address underlying causes and determinants of poor health outcomes. This means strengthening local health systems to deliver quality maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition interventions and to promote family caring practices that prevent neonatal death and stunting. This work will run parallel to efforts to support the expansion of successful, disaster-resistant models for integrated WASH services. With the overarching goals to support government to meet its international commitments to eliminate open defecation by 2025, ensure safe drinking water for all by 2030 and scale-up nutrition, UNICEF is committed to ensuring all children have the best start in life to benefit from the country’s growing prosperity.