Maternal Child Health
While newborns have a better chance of survival than ever before in Viet Nam, UNICEF is working to increase the quality and coverage of care provided before, during and after birth to end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths.
Viet Nam has made impressive advancements in reproductive health and maternal child care. With a four-fold reduction in maternal mortality and a dramatic halving of under-5 mortality in recent decades, Viet Nam’s maternal child health indicators compare favourably with other countries with similar average incomes per capita.
Despite this progress, giving birth in Viet Nam remains a risky proposition for many women and their babies. Inadequate and limited access to health care during pregnancy, childbirth and early childhood means 600 maternal deaths and more than 10,000 neonatal deaths are recorded in the country each year.
Children still fail to get the best start to life, with 100 children under-5 dying each day of preventable causes. Although ethnic minorities account for 15 per cent of the total population, the under-5 child mortality rate for this group is 3.5 times higher than for the Kinh majority people. Moreover, there is widespread under-reporting of neonatal and stillborn deaths, especially in mountainous rural areas largely populated by ethnic minorities.
While newborns have a better chance at survival than ever before in Viet Nam, the majority of under-5 deaths still occur during the first year (82 per cent) and the first month (61 per cent).
With the period around birth a critical window of opportunity to prevent and manage maternal and newborn complications, UNICEF is working with local health authorities in Viet Nam to strengthen a number of approaches to save young lives.
With its simple set of interventions, Early Essential Newborn Care has evolved into a flagship model that has been scaled-up nationwide since 2015 to reach 9,000 health facility staff and ensure more mothers and babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact and exclusive breastfeeding through the First Embrace and Kangaroo Mother Care approaches. We support the piloting of innovative information technology to update and track mothers and children’s indicators to reduce the infant mortality rate as well as measles, mumps and rubella in Viet Nam.
As the world begins work on the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, it is essential Viet Nam with UNICEF support brings about significant improvements in levels of coverage and quality of care provided before, during and after birth to achieve the goal of ending preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths.
UNICEF promotes a holistic, rights-based approach to maternal and child health, with support focused on reducing inequities in care, strengthened local health systems, risk-informed planning and family caring practices.