Vietnam has made great progress in addressing micronutrient deficiency over the past years, but there is still a long road ahead for the country to catch up with regional countries, according to the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) under the Ministry of Health.

Speaking to the media on May 25 at the launch of Micronutrient Day (June 1-2), NIN Deputy Director Dr. Le Bach Mai said the World Health Organisation lists Vietnam among 19 countries with high rate of preclinical vitamin A deficiency.

The doctor said one tenth of Vietnamese children under five years old suffer from the lack of Vitamin A, while the rates of underweight and stunted children are 14.5 percent and 24.9 percent, respectively.

According to Mai, combating micronutrient deficiency is a long-term mission and is one of the goals of the National Nutritional Strategy for 2011-2020.

The NIN announced that on the Micronutrient Day, it will provide 6.7 million capsules of vitamin A for children aged from 6 to 60 months and new mothers in all 63 provinces and cities.

More than one million deworming doses for children aged from 24-60 months are also given away at 22 disadvantaged provinces where there are high rates of stunted children.

The institute also advised families to diversify their meals with food which are rich in vitamins and minerals to supply sufficient micronutrients to children.-VNA