Many improvements needed in reproductive healthcare in VN

Published: 10/02/2011 05:00



Mother and Child Healthcare Department head Nguyen Duy Khe said many
difficulties lay ahead in reproductive healthcare while chatting with Suc khoe&Doi
song (Health&Life) newspaper.

What did Viet
Nam achieve in reproductive health care last year ?

Essential indices on
reproductive healthcare provision for mothers and children were improved
compared with 2009.

The proportion of
pregnant women receiving antenatal care increased to 95 per cent last year from
84.6 per cent in 2006.

This proportion was 88
per cent and 89 per cent in the north-west and Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands)
which are the most economically disadvantaged areas.

On average, each woman
was provided antenatal care four times last year compared with 3.3 per cent in
2009. Up to 95.7 per cent of babies were delivered by trained midwives and 92.8
per cent of women were provided with postnatal healthcare services last year, an
increase of 3.4 per cent over the previous year.

The rate of
malnutrition among overweight children under five years old was reduced to 17.5
per cent last year.

What is the
biggest challenge at present?

The biggest challenge
is that the State health budget has not yet met the increasing demands for
healthcare. The national reproductive health care budget is barely enough to
cover the mountainous and difficult areas.

Photo: VNA

Other challenges are
the considerable differences between regions in accessing reproductive
healthcare services, as well as in the rates of maternal and infant mortality.
In northern mountainous provinces and Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) provinces,
indices of health and nutrition among mothers and children are lower than those
of other regions. Deaths in childbirth remain high, accounting for 70 per cent
of deaths of children under one year old and 50 per cent of children under five
years old.

Although Viet Nam has
intervened to reduce the annual malnutrition rates in remote and mountainous
areas, results remain low in difficult areas and the numbers of malnourished
children are higher than in urban and rural areas. The problem is compounded by
an increasing number of children suffering from obesity.

Genital infections and
sexually transmitted diseases are still widespread. In many areas, genital
infections are found among 50-60 per cent of child-bearing-age women. Proper
attention has not been paid to preventing these diseases and HIV/AIDs.

Viet Nam reports about
5,500 new cases of cervical cancer every year and about half die from the
disease. Screenings for early detection of breast cancer, cervical cancer and
prostate cancer have not yet been widely implemented.

Besides this, the
shortage of health staff and limited professional abilities are restricting
reproductive health care services in mountain and remote areas.

What measures
are needed to improve the situation?

A series of measures
are needed, including an increase in the State budget for reproductive health
care services.

State management needs
to be further strengthened through the completion of legal documents relevant to
reproductive healthcare, training and supervision.

Efforts should be
strengthened to help more people access reproductive health care services in
parallel with improving the service quality. Economically disadvantaged areas
should be given special attention.

The Government also
needs to upgrade obstetrics wings at general hospitals in mountainous provinces
to help doctors perform caesarean operations and provide emergency aid to
pregnant women where needed. Training midwives in mountainous areas is also
essential to help ethnic people deliver their babies safely and hygienically.

Nam News

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