Vietnam's Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2010-11 report, launched in Hanoi on Dec. 16, revealed persisting disparity in the lives and well-being of local women and children.

The survey was carried out by the General Statistics Office (GSO) in collaboration with UNICEF and UNFPA between September 2010 and January 2011.

It includes information gathered from over 11,600 households with over 11,660 women, aged 15 to 49, and nearly 3,700 children under 5 years old nation-wide. Seventy percent of households populations are living in rural areas, of which around 10 percent belonging to ethnic groups other than Kinh and Hoa.

In the area of immunisation, only two out of five children in Vietnam between 12 and 23 months receive full cover. In addition, there is a considerable gap between rural and urban areas, with one in two urban children fully immunised, compared to only one in three in rural areas.

Nearly one in every four under-five children is stunted, the rate among ethnic minority children being twice as high as that among their Kinh and Hoa peers.

In the area of reproductive health, most women aged 15-49 received antenaval care at least once by skilled personnel while two-thirds underwent the recommended four antenaval care visits. However, all interviewed women in King and Hoa households delivered in health facilities, compared to only three out of five women from ethnic minority households.

"With more than 20 indicators drawn directly from Millennium Development Goals and over 100 related to women and children, the MICS provides important quantitative data reflecting achievements made via the National Programme of Action for Children 2001-10, the MDGs and the Declaration and Action Plan for a World Fit for Children," said General Director of the GSO Do Thuc.

For example, according to the survey results, the under-five mortality rate is 16 per 1,00 live birth and the infant mortality rate is 14 per 1,000 live birth. But the rates of ten years ago were 66 per 1,000 live birth and 45 per 1,000 live birth.

However, substantial disparities exist along the dimensions of the ethnicity and living standards: ethnic children are three times as likely as Kinh and Hoa children to die before their first and fifth birthdays; and children in the poorest households are twice as likely to die before age of 1 and five compared to children living in better off families.

UNICEF representative in Vietnam , Lotta Sylwander, said that results from the MICS report will allow the country to better monitor progress toward national goals and global commitments including MGDs as the target year 2015 approached.

The report provided evidence that ethnic minorities were not faring well in most surveyed areas, she said, adding that the findings will help policy makers identify and target their resources to those groups that were in most need of attention.

The MICS is an international household survey initiative, through which UNICEF assists countries in collecting and analysing data in order to monitor the situation of children and women.

In Vietnam , four rounds of MICS surveys have been implemented in 1996, 2000, 2006 and 2010-11./.