HA NOI – Viet Nam had one of the best systems for overcoming malnutrition in East Asia, according to the Ministry of Health.
Luu Thi Hong, deputy director of the ministry's Maternal and Child Care Department said both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) considered Viet Nam recorded impressive recoveries.
Malnutrition rates among children under five fell from 44 per cent in 1994 to nearly 20 per cent in 2008, 18 per cent in 2009 and 17 per cent in 2010.
Hong said the recovery rate was much faster than that set under an earlier national plan – 20 per cent by 2010.
Hong also reported a fast decline in maternal and child mortality. The rate for children aged under one fell by about two thirds – from 4.4 per cent in 1990 to 1.6 per cent in 2008, far exceeding the national goal of 2.5 per cent by 2010.
This has enabled Viet Nam to pass its Millennium Goal of reducing child deaths.
However, Hong said, the maternal and child mortality rates fell at different rates between regions. Mountain areas often had a rate three times higher than on the plains.
And the infant death rate is still high, accounting for 70 per cent of deaths of children under the age of one.
According to the ministry, Viet Nam still has 2.1 million stunted and 1.3 million underweight children.
Hong said Viet Nam was now also faced with the rising problem of obesity among children. – VNS