On World Population Day 2009, under the theme “Responding to the Economic Crisis: Investing in Women is a Smart Choice,” the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the UN have pledge their commitment to support health and equal opportunities for all.
The two organizations made a call for investing in women’s health and ensuring continued progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), despite the recent global economic crisis.
To protect their rights to health, it is an urgent need to increase social investment, especially in reproductive health, according to the Government and UN officials.
In the Government’s socio-economic development plan (2006-2010), Vietnam plans to reduce maternal mortality rates to 60 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2010 compared to maternal mortality rates in 2007/2008 75 deaths per 100,000 live births; however, in distant and disadvantaged regions, it is much higher than national average.
In order to achieve this, and thereby reach the MDGs of reducing maternal mortality by 75 percent by 2015, Vietnam needs to make concerted efforts.
However, the economic crisis represents a challenge for Vietnam in terms of maintaining this steady progress.
Recently, there has been an increase in maternal mortality, especially in remote and disadvantaged areas.
“Our collective efforts to achieve the MDGs must remain a priority. We must join forces to advance women’s empowerment and ensure universal access to reproductive health by 2015, as reproductive health services are key to protecting the health of women, mothers and their babies,” Nguyen Ba Thuy, deputy Minister of Health and general director of the General Office for Population and Family Planning.
To keep up the momentum in achieving MDGs on maternal health, efforts should be devoted to enhancing the quality of safe motherhood services for ethnic minority people in remote and mountainous areas.
Priority should be on skilled delivery, with a strengthened referral system to a centre which can respond to pregnancy complications that might otherwise lead to tragic and unnecessary deaths.