Back Society » Health » Maternity Mortality Rates Fall; Contraceptive Rates Rise in Vietnam: Health Ministry

Maternal mortality rates have dropped nearly 75% since the 1990s, from 233 per 100,000 live births to 58.3.

Contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) increased from 37% in 1988 to 67% in 2016, according to figures released at a ceremony organized by the Ministry of Health, with technical and financial support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The declines in maternal mortality rates have been credited to a 15-20% increase in government expenditures on health care which has allowed for 90% of the population to have access to health care. Initiatives include providing information regarding reproductive health, family planning, safe abortive measures and controlling reproductive diseases. The Ministry has also provided tetanus vaccinations and iron tablets for pregnant women.

The event on Tuesday focused on the results a study conducted by the Vietnam Research and Training Centre for Community Development (RTCCD) in coordination with the Bangladesh Human Development Research Centre. To get a better understanding of the state of family planning in Vietnam, researchers interviewed nearly 6,000 women aged between 15 and 49 across 20 districts.

Disparities, however, remain between groups and regions. According to a recent government report, those living in remote, mountains and ethnic minority areas have higher maternal mortality rates.

Lack of education, harmful traditional practices and geography reduce access to health services. Moreover, regions such as the highlands experience a dearth of skilled maternity care workers. Unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions are more common amongst ethnic minorities and the economically disadvantaged.

Even with the positive improvements, stigmas regarding sex before marriage still result in a nationwide lack of understanding about proper contraceptive. It’s estimated that 40% of all unwanted pregnancies in Vietnam are the result of failed contraceptives, and general misunderstandings hinder their effective use. Vietnam leads the region in abortions, the rates of which are especially high amongst teenagers.

Going forward, experts recommend providing further education efforts regarding safe contraceptive use and increasing the number of skilled health workers in remote areas. The effects could have wide-reaching impacts on the country as explained by Astrid Bant, UNFP representative in Vietnam: “As the country continues to progress socially and economically, we must recognise that we cannot achieve sustainable development without promoting the health, especially reproductive health and rights, of women and girls throughout their life.”

[Photo via Save the Children Vietnam]

Related Articles:

- In Vietnam, Taboo and Tradition Hinder Contraception Awareness

- Teenagers Account for 70% of Vietnam's 'Secret Abortions'

- [VIDEO]ietnamese Try to Use a Condom for the First Time

Partner Content