A nurse takes care of newborns at the Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Health Ministry has unveiled its 2016-2020 action plan on mothers and children health care with a focus on narrowing down the gap among different areas across the nation.

There exist substantial gaps in the rates of diseases and mortality as well as the quality of health services among areas, posing great challenges to the health sector.

A 2006-2007 survey showed that maternity-related deaths in mountainous localities accounted for 81.5 percent that of the entire nation. The figure was 81.2 percent in 2013 and 2014.

The mortality rate among children under one and five years old in mountainous areas is also the highest in the country, with little progress seen in recent years.

The shortage of paediatric and obstetric staff, particularly at district and provincial levels, has been a pressing issue.

As such, the ministry’s newly established national action plan will concentrate on providing essential services for pregnant women before, during and after childbirth as well as newborn care. Promoting nutrition and vaccination for mothers and children are also part of the plan.-VNA