Vietnam makes strides in improving reproductive health hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam has made progress in improving reproductive and sexual health over the past 20 years. However, imbalance and inequality still persist.
Unplanned pregnancy forms part of an invisible worldwide crisis, and Vietnam is not an exception, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Vietnam Kitahara Naomi said during an event to reveal key findings. They were released recently in the “State of World Population 2022” report, titled "Understanding the Unseen: Taking Action to End the Neglected Problem of Unintended Pregnancy".
Updating safe contraceptives

According to the UNFPA, imbalance and inequality in sexual and reproductive health remains in different communities, specifically in ethnic minority groups, among migrant workers, adolescents and inhabitants in remote and mountainous areas.
Evidence showed that although the maternal mortality rate dropped to 46 out of 100,000 at the national level, the figures double and even triple in the northern mountainous and Central Highlands regions.
Furthermore, the rate in the H’Mong ethnic minority group was seven-fold against that among the Kinh group. A large number of women in such high-risk areas meet their end due to giving birth at home. Many women were not even assisted by certified midwives.
A study on Sustainable Development Goals by the General Statistics Office (GSO), UNFPA and UNICEF in 2021 indicated that only 72 percent of married women are content with modern contraceptives and the rate shrank to just 50.3 percent among single women.
In terms of decision-making capacity on reproduction and sexual intercourse, findings in the study pointed out that an average of 84 percent of Vietnamese women can make their own decisions regarding intercourse and 70 percent on the use contraceptives. 
Only 42 percent of H’Mong people and 61 percent of women who did not attend schools can make decisions about intercourse. 
Meanwhile, just 25 percent of minors and 54 percent of adolescents between 20 and 24 years old can decide for themselves on the use of contraceptives.
Kitahara analysed that unplanned pregnancy is attributable to such restrictions.  

Vietnam makes strides in improving reproductive health hinh anh 2UNFPA Representative in Vietnam Kitahara Naomi (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Therefore, the UNFPA called on policymakers and local authorities to prioritise rights of women and girls, enabling them to make choices and get access to safe and effective contraceptives. This will help ensure all adolescents, regardless of genders, are fully aware of risks and preventive measures against unplanned pregnancy. 
Women’s voices must be heard and their demand satisfied to foster equality across all fields.
Nearly 2 million USD earmarked for the building of population database 
At the event, the UNFPA and the GSO launched a new project that aims to support Vietnamese agencies in producing and utilising quality population data for the formulation and implementation of socio-economic development policies, strategies, and programmes.

It is also meant to help with the monitoring of the realisation of the SDGs in the country. 

Implemented from now to 2026 at a total cost of 1.9 million USD, it will assist Vietnamese agencies in applying new technologies and communication platforms to the collection, analysis, dissemination, and use of quality population data. This will help to ensure evidence-based policies, strategies, and programmes for the SGD achievement by 2030.
GSO General Director Nguyen Thi Huong said during the almost 45 years of Vietnam - UNFPA cooperation, the GSO’s capacity of building and managing data and statistics has improved considerably.
The new project also matches the roadmap for implementing Vietnam’s statistical development strategy for 2021 - 2023 with a vision to 2045, she added.
UNFPA Representative in Vietnam Naomi Kitahara said COVID-19 has cause serious impacts on the country’s socio-economic development. This is especially so in population changes related to births, deaths, and migration, quality and trustworthy statistics. These are critical to building, implementing, monitoring, and assessing the realisation of socio-economic targets and the SDGs./.