Vietnam close to achieving Millennium Development Goal 4 hinh anh 1A nurse is taking care of a baby at the Tu Du Obstetrics Hospital in HCM City. (Source: VNA)

Progress in controlling the mortality rate in small children has brought Vietnam come close to achieving the related Millennium Development Goal 4 on reducing child mortality, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH).

According to the Department of Maternal Health and Children under the MoH, the mortality rate among children under one reduced from 44 per 1,000 in 1990 to 14.9 in 2014 and is currently only 0.1 percent higher than the MDG 4.

The rate, however, varies between regions and ethnic groups. The rate is 8.7 per 1,000 in urban areas and 17.9 per 1,000 in rural areas. Central Highlands, midland and mountainous north, the central north and the coastal central regions have the highest rates.

The rate among ethnic minority groups is 30 per 1,000 and stands at 12 per 1,000 for the majority Kinh group specifically.

Infant mortality rate is importantly associated with maternal health, but statistics for the rate have yet been collected in Vietnam.

The mortality rate among children under five halved from 1990-2004 at a rate of 2 per 1,000 each year, but the pace has slowed to 0.5 per 1,000 each year in recent years. The rate was 22.4 per 1000 in 2014, 3.1 deaths above the level required by the MDG 4.

The slowdown of the mortality rate reduction among children under-one and under-five in recent years is due partly to persistently high rates in mountainous and remote areas where health facilities and human resources desperately need improvements.

The overall success is the result of many factors that include the national immunisation programme, the national strategy for reproduction healthcare, the Vietnam population and reproduction health strategy for 2011-2020 and the family planning policy implemented since 1990.

The health sector continues to reinforce its caring systems from the grassroots level and focus on training and re-training staff.

A special support policy will be issued for ethnic minority midwives and health workers who are stationed at far-flung hamlets and villages.-VNA