Vietnam needs new approaches that are designed based on geographic conditions and cultural characteristics of ethnic minority communities to address the persistent malnutrition among ethnic minority children, said a WB report.
Children at a kindergarten
The WB released the report titled “Persistent Malnutrition in Ethnic Minority Communities of Viet Nam: Issues and Options or Policy and Interventions” in Hanoi on December 10.
Addressing the event, WB Country Director Ousmane Dione said Vietnam has made impressive progress in reducing malnutrition in children in the past two decades, but the disparity between ethnic minority children and their peers in plain areas is widening.
He said priority should be given to provinces with highest malnutrition rates in the next period in order to create substantial changes.
The report found that only 39 percent of ethnic minority children from 6 to 23 months are fed a nutritionally adequate diet, and just 32.7 percent of ethnic minority women aged from 15 to 49 get antenatal health checks, vitamin and mineral supplements as well as nutrition counseling.
The root cause of the problem is poverty, the report said, citing statistics in 2016 that showed ethnic minority groups accounted for 73 percent of the nation’s poor households, even though they made up only 14 percent of the national population.
It recommended several solutions that Vietnam can take to improve nutrition for ethnic minority children, including building a more effective mechanism for coordination among relevant agencies under the leadership of the Government, ensuring financial resources for the work; replacing one-size-fits-all approach to ethnic minority service delivery with more-innovative ethnically responsive approaches; and defining and then scaling up evidence-based nutrition-specific interventions focused on the first 1,000 days of children.
The government of Japan provided financial support for this report through the Japan Trust Fund for Scaling Up Nutrition.
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As 12-year-old Nguyen Viet Lam is taken to the operating theatre at Hanoi’s Military Central Hospital 108 he grips a nurse’s hand tightly, not looking back.