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Prioritising maternal healthcare in rural Vietnam

In 2010, ChildFund Vietnam helped to build a much-needed health centre in rural Bach Thong District. Seven years on, the eight-room health centre now provides services to around 500 patients each month €“ more than double the number of people the old clinic served in 2009.

A key priority of the health centre is obstetrics, the branch of medical science concerned with childbirth and caring for and treating pregnant women, and the management of childhood illnesses – with medical staff regularly undertaking training programs in these areas.

Obstetrician Dr Hon has been working in the region for 15 years, and has seen the impact of ChildFund`s work and the new health centre first-hand: “The knowledge I have received from ChildFund`s training programs has been incredibly valuable. With these learnings, I am now very confident and well-prepared for any circumstance that might happen when I help women deliver their babies.”

Prenatal care is one of the most critical services, and healthcare staff are working hard to changing community behaviours – educating mothers-to-be on the importance of regular health checks throughout their pregnancy.

Ngan, a mother of two, gave birth to her first son at the health centre: “I am so thankful for what the staff did for me, as I was an inexperienced first-time mother. I always came to the health centre for check-ups when I was pregnant. The staff helped me to track the progress of my pregnancy and gave me advice on nutrition and health. My baby boy was born here and is now growing really well.”

Since the new health centre has been built, the number of mothers bringing their unwell children for care is growing every year. Children under five years old are involved in a growth monitoring scheme and malnourished children are weighed and measured each month. School-aged children also receive two general health checks every year, and parents learn about nutrition and receive pointers on tracking their children’s development.

Ngan explains that the health centre provides more than just good quality medical support: “The health centre also has a very child-friendly environment, with a playground and a child-focused check-up room. My children never feel scared when coming here.”

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