Press Release

Preventing maternal and newborn deaths and disabilities and empowering women to make informed, healthy choices and exercise their rights is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, New Reports Show

24 April 2018

HA NOI, 24 April 2018The first ever National Midwifery Report of Viet Nam and the Report on “Exploring barriers to accessing Maternal and Family Planning services in Ethnic Minority communities" which was launched today in Ha Noi by the Ministry of Health (MOH), with technical and financial support from the United Nations Population Fund  (UNFPA) in Viet Nam outlines that access to quality health care is a basic human right. Greater investment in midwifery is key to making this right a reality for all women everywhere.

Viet Nam has made substantial progress in strengthening safe motherhood and newborn health services. However, there are still significant differences in maternal and child health between those in Viet Nam living in the river deltas and those living in mountainous areas, with higher maternal mortality ratios in remote and ethnic minority areas. Data from the reports showed that the proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel differed by 45 percentage points between ethnic minority participants and national estimates (49 percent vs. 94 percent).

The modern contraceptive prevalence rate among ethnic minorities was 57 percent overall, similar to the national average. However, there was wide variation between provinces and ethnic minority communities, with the rate being 75 percent in Kon Tum compared to 45 percent  in Gia Lai and 41-42 percent for Ba Na and Gia Rai groups to over 70  percent for Tay and Sedang groups.

Data reveals a significant shortage of skilled birth attendants in hard-to-reach regions and a significant difference in the competency of workers who are working in the lowlands compared to the highlands. 94 percent of practicing midwives are trained at secondary level and only 0.8 percent has bachelor qualifications.

"Midwifery and midwifery practice plays a crucial role in Viet Nam’s maternal and newborn health care system. A skilled midwifery workforce with high competencies, motivated and supported by the health care system, is key to successfully reducing maternal and newborn mortality and contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030," said Nguyen Viet Tien, Vice Minister of Health at the launch today in Ha Noi.

Investing in human resources for health, especially for midwives, is one of the soundest investments a country can make. It is of utmost importance to reinforce the status of midwives. When midwives are properly trained, empowered and supported, they can contribute significantly to saving the lives of mothers and newborns, as well as improving the nation’s economic and social productivity. Having midwives at the bedside of every pregnant woman is a highly cost-effective public health strategy. "As Viet Nam continues to progress socially and economically, we must recognize that we cannot achieve sustainable development without promoting the health - and especially the reproductive health and rights - of women and girls throughout their life cycle. The UNFPA in Viet Nam is fully committed to support the Government and people of Viet Nam to ensure that universal access to health, including sexual and reproductive health, will become a reality for all", emphasized Ms. Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam.

The two reports include recommendations to close these gaps and to ensure all women have access to sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn services. Every year, the world over, almost 300,000 women die during pregnancy or childbirth. Implementing the recommendations means we will have come a long way in trying to end this human tragedy, as no women should die while bringing life into this world!

For further information, please contact:
Ms Nguyen Thi Hong Thanh
UNFPA Communications
Tel: (84-24) 38500345
Mob: 0913 093363