The southern province of Dong Nai will launch a programme called “milk for schools” in a bid to reduce the rate of malnutrition among children in the locality and promote their physical growth.

The programme, which is to start from May this year, will be implemented in nursery schools in the districts of Xuan Loc, Cam My, Dinh Quan, Tan Phu and Vinh Cuu and two others in Bien Hoa city and Trang Bom district during its first phase.

It will benefit children in all nursery schools and those from six to eight years old across the locality by 2020. E ach child will be given 540 ml of milk a week, nine months a year.

Aimed at improving the lack of micronutrients, stunted growth as well as brainpower for children under six and kids in primary schools, the programme will run at a cost of 1.3 trillion VND, with 658 billion VND coming from the state budget, 459 billion VND contributed by parents and nearly 197 billion VND from milk companies.

Dong Nai is the third locality to carry out the project, following southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province and northern Bac Ninh province.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), one-third of Vietnamese children under the age of five are stunted as a result of malnutrition. But Vietnam is making progress, currently leading the way in lowering rates of malnutrition.

Data from the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDG) initiative shows that the rate of child malnutrition in Vietnam is declining by 1.5 percent every year. From 44 percent in 1994, the rate has dropped to under 20 percent at present.-VNA