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Landmark Youth Survey launched in Viet Nam

Hanoi, 26 August 2005: The largest and most comprehensive survey of young people ever conducted in Viet Nam was launched in Hanoi today. Drawing on the responses of 7,584 young people aged between 14 and 25 years, the results provide new and extensive information on the social life, attitudes and aspirations of young Vietnamese people today.

 “This national survey, the first of its kind in Viet Nam, represents an important collaborative partnership between many Government and international agencies and young people. The information collected will be used to direct and shape youth policy in Viet Nam and to promote the healthy development of young people across the country. The survey is the first stage of an ongoing process that will monitor how youth are faring in this country,” said Dr Tran Chi Liem, Vice Minister of Health.

The survey known as SAVY, which stands for Survey Assessment of Vietnamese Youth, was carried out by the Ministry of Health (MoH), the General Statistics Office (GSO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Nearly 7600 participants from 42 provinces across the country including males and females, married and unmarried, Kinh and ethnic minority.

 “The results from SAVY show that many young people are optimistic, hard working and ambitious, with strong family and community networks,” said Madame Tong Thi Dua, Deputy Director of Social and Environmental Department  from General Statistic Office. “However,” she added, “… the changing social and economic environment here in Viet Nam does present considerable challenges for young people. Those from ethnic minority backgrounds and those who live in remote areas are particularly vulnerable to risk where poverty and lack of information act as a barrier to education and employment.”

The survey highlighted a number of key findings:

- Young people in Viet Nam have a very strong sense of connection with their families- the family unit is valued and respected.
- School attendance is high (96.2%).  (Highest education level reached by the majority of participants is lower secondary level).
- Having a job was identified as the highest priority in terms of future aspirations.
- Premarital sex is considered improper, same sex friendships are the usual practice and there is very little acceptance of homosexuality.
- While most people knew about the practical effectiveness of condoms, attitudes towards condom use were largely negative, associating them with promiscuity and sex workers.
- Major gaps remain in young people’s knowledge about reproductive health and contraception, especially about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and when young women can become pregnant in their menstrual cycle.
- There is a clear relationship between level of education and HIV knowledge.  Nearly one quarter of young ethnic minority people who had not attended school had never heard of AIDS.  Although the majority of young people have high levels of awareness about HIV/AIDS, awareness levels do not necessarily correspond to accuracy of information. 
- The majority of young people in the sample (over 90%) said they could easily obtain alcohol and tobacco. Just under half of young men (43.6%) reported smoking while very few young women (1.2%) did so. Data on illicit drug use was almost certainly under reported (0.5%).
- Young Vietnamese men are at greater risk than young women from health compromising behaviour.
- Traffic accidents pose a major risk for urban young people. One in four urban people reported having had a traffic accident.  Only 25 % reported wearing a motorbike helmet.
- In general, SAVY reveals a picture of young Vietnamese people as resilient and hard working, with high expectations and strong self-esteem. However, as many as one in five respondents have at some time felt hopeless and helpless about the future. Young people from ethnic minority young women are less optimistic about the future than Kinh peers. This indicates that these are vulnerable and at risk youth who need support.

“SAVY’s findings highlight the need to prioritise a number of issues for future programming.  In particular, attention needs to be focused on those groups most vulnerable to risk and these include ethnic minority young people,” commented Dr. Christian Salazar, Senior Programme Coordinator of UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam.

WHO indicated its support for continuing SAVYs in the future. “SAVY has provided very useful baseline data and it is important that this information is regularly updated by Government. WHO would be happy to work with others in support of a second and subsequent SAVY, based on a five year timeline,” said Dr. Hans Troedssen, WHO Representative in Viet Nam.

Major recommendations of SAVY include:

1. Prioritising the issues of job creation; educational opportunities for all; reducing risks associated with legal drug use (alcohol and smoking); improving knowledge about sexual and reproductive health; changing attitudes and behaviour on condom use and  reducing the risk of traffic accidents.
2. Targeting vulnerable, young people, especially ethnic minority youth.
3. Strengthening the legislative and policy framework to promote and protect the development of young people.
4. Further develop supportive environments that currently exist in Viet Nam (family and school etc)
5. More effective use of mass media in communicating messages to young people.

For further information, please contact:

Ministry of Health
Nguyen Nhat Thanh (Mr.), Reproductive Health Department, Tel.: 844 846 4060,

General Statistic Office
Tong Thi Dua (Ms.), Social and Enviromental Deparment, Tel.:  844 8433354 Email:

Le Thi Minh Chau (Ms), Education Section, Tel.: 844 942 5706 (ext 324), email
Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong (Ms), Communication Section, Tel. 844 942 570 (ex. 401),

WHO in Viet Nam
Margaret Sheehan (Ms)  Tel.:844 9433734 (ext 36)




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