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Maternal health in rural Vietnam

There has been significant progress made towards improving the quality of maternal and child healthcare over the last two decades in Vietnam. In 1990, Vietnam’s maternal mortality rate was 240 deaths per 100,000 live births. By 2010, the rate had decreased to 59.

However, the quality of healthcare is not equal across all provinces nationwide. In many mountainous areas, the malnutrition rates are comparatively high and reproductive healthcare programs are limited.

According to a baseline survey conducted by ChildFund in Bac Kan province, only one-third of health centres in the province were sufficiently equipped to deliver proper health services to local people.

To improve the quality of reproductive and child healthcare services, ChildFund Vietnam and its local partner have supported the construction of two new healthcare centres in Bac Kan. These well-equipped facilities in Nguyen Phuc and Duong Son are providing more than 4,000 people with much better access to quality healthcare services.


The old Duong Son Health Centre, which did not have adequate facilities

ChildFund Vietnam specifically based this project on the needs of minority women and their children living in the area because national health programs often do not reach these remote communities. Through community discussion ChildFund learnt that previously most women felt the community health centres lacked equipment and skilled workers to provide proper health services.

“For a long time, partly due to the shortage of equipment and updated technical knowledge, we have had to deal with lots of difficulties. Some of the basic health care services like prenatal care or general check-up for children can be done at our centre but for those more complex services like child delivery, people tend to choose a district hospital though they may have to double their distance to reach it,” said Mr Hoang Van Thu, head of Duong Son healthcare centre.

Now, the new healthcare centres have nine functional rooms, toilet blocks, waste processing tanks and access to clean water. ChildFund has also trained healthcare workers so they are better equipped to provide regular treatment services to their patients.


Children are healthier and happier thanks to the new facility

Community health workers are helping to improve the knowledge of local women on issues such as reproductive health, safe motherhood, nutrition, how to take care of their children and personal hygiene.

Now, a visit to the community healthcare centre not only includes patients being given medication to treat their illnesses but also advice and information of how to prevent illness and stay healthy.

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