Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam has outperformed some ASEAN neighbours including Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines in keeping children safe and happy, but inequality is holding its poorest children back, a report revealed.
The Many Faces of Exclusion, a report launched by Save the Children on the occasion of the International Children’s Day on June 1, examines countries on a range of indicators related to childhood, such as child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and child mortality.
The report said Việt Nam performed poorest when it came to malnutrition, with more than 24 per cent of Vietnamese children under the age of five suffering from stunting – nearly triple the average for East Asia and the Pacific.
Việt Nam fell four places to 96th in the report’s ‘End of Childhood’ index, which ranks countries based on threats encountered by children. Neighbouring Cambodia ranked 119th, Thailand 85th, the Philippines 104th , and Indonesia 105th. Poor children in Việt Nam are seven times more likely to be stunted than their wealthy peers, and eight times more likely to be working, according to the report.
“While we are disappointed to see Việt Nam slip back in the rankings, we have seen a substantial reduction in overall poverty levels over the past 25 years,” sai Save the Children’s Việt Nam Country Director Dragana Strinic.
“Việt Nam is one of Southeast Asia’s fastest growing economies; however, one of the major concerns highlighted in the report is that extremely high levels of inequality continue to exist between the wealthiest members of society in Việt Nam and the poor, many of whom belong to minority groups that face entrenched disadvantages and live in rural areas with poor access to services like schools and health facilities,” Strinic said.
“And that cycle of disadvantage is likely to continue unless measures are put in place to ensure everyone has access to quality services.”
“Save the Children is calling for strong multi sectoral collaboration and engagement from the public and private sectors, the government, the development community, and donors, to contribute to efforts to improve the situation for deprived children in Việt Nam,” she said.
Now in its second year, the report includes a ranking of 175 countries according to where childhood is most and least threatened as a result of poor health, malnutrition, exclusion from education, and child labour. Other factors considered in the report include child marriage, early pregnancy, and extreme violence.
Singapore and Slovenia ranked joint first, with Norway, Sweden and Finland rounding out the top five. — VNS