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.