Vietnam should give top priority to dealing with malnutrition among children – the country’s future, experts advised at a seminar in the central city of Da Nang on April 16.

Participants at the event, co-organised by the National Assembly Standing Committee’s Institute for Legislative Studies and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), stressed the need to include nutrition examination and consultancy services and special treatment products in the list of things covered by health insurance.

This will be the best measure to provide timely prevention and treatment to all malnourished children in Vietnam, easing burdens caused by the disease and bringing the rate of stunted children under the age of five down to below 23 percent by 2020, they said.

Ass. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thi Lam, Deputy Director of the National Nutrition Institute, said that the revised Health Insurance Law should feature payments for nutrition examination and consultancy services and special treatment products for ill-nourished children under six.

NA deputy Duong Trung Quoc affirmed that children should have a balanced, suitable and scientific nutrition regime to gain comprehensive physical and intellectual developments.

According to Tong Thi Song Huong, head of the Health Insurance Department under the Health Ministry, the draft revised law makes many amendments and additions to the existing ones, including specific regulations on the responsibilities of communal People’s Committees and health insurance organisations in planning coverage for children under six.

Vietnam ranks 13th in the world in the malnutrition burden with more than 2.5 million under-five underfed children, mainly living in northwestern and Central Highlands regions.-VNA