Nation aims for more healthy infants

A programme to tackle stillbirths and maternal deaths during childbirth is being implemented in the country as Viet Nam strives to attain the UN’s Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

The programme, carrying a cost of nearly US$10 million in which more than $9.4 million has been funded by the Dutch Government, is the second phase of a national plan to improve maternity care in the 2006-10 period.

Action will focus o­n 14 cities and provinces in northern areas and theTay Nguyen (Central Highlands) region where, according to a recent survey, more mothers and babies die during labour than any other part of the country.

The programme will hone in a medical complications that are often the cause of maternal deaths including excessive bleeding from the womb and bacterial infection.

The programme is expected to reduce maternal death rates from 411 to 200 per 100,000 in northern areas and from 178 to 100 per 100,000 women in Tay Nguyen. If targets are achieved, the country’s maternity death rate will drop to 130 per 100,000 cases by 2010. The current rate is 165 per 100,000 cases.

As for newborns, the death rate is expected to decrease from 31.6 to 22 in o­ne thousand in northern mountain provinces by 2010.

According to a recent study o­n maternal deaths in seven regions in the country, northern areas and Tay Nguyen bore the highest death toll with 168 to 916 deaths per 100,000 births. This means that mountainous areas are ten times more dangerous for expectant mothers than delta regions. In addition, stillborn babies delivered in northern mountain areas are double the national average.

All cities and provinces benefiting from the programme will receive training and technology from the National Obstetrics Hospital, Tu Du Obstetrics Hospital, National Paediatric Hospital, Children’s Hospital 1 and Hue Medical University