The northwestern mountainous province of Hoa Binh on September 13 launched a drive to help residents improve maternal and newborn healthcare with financial support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

It will distribute detailed baby care manuals and an array of accompanying activities, including seminars and training courses on the use of the manuals as part of a 1.8 million USD agreement signed between the Health Ministry and the JICA in 2010.

In addition to Hoa Binh, the provinces of Dien Bien in the north, Thanh Hoa in the central region and An Giang in the south will also benefit from the three-year project.

The manuals offer guidance for maternal health during pregnancy and maternal and newborn care during birth and post-birth.

First launched in Japan in 1942, the model has been applied in many Asian nations, including Indonesia, Thailand and Laos as part of their efforts to reduce infant mortality rates.

The death rate of Vietnamese newborns remains high, making up 70 percent of the total death toll among children under five years of age.-VNA