VietNamNet Bridge – Five-year (2011-15) national reproductive healthcare action plan will focus on safe motherhood and newborns.
At a workshop on reproductive health issues held on Tuesday in HCM City, Luu Thi Hong, deputy head of the Maternal and Child Health Department under the Ministry of Health, said this plan was part of Viet Nam's Millennium Development Goals No.4 and 5 on reducing child mortality and improving maternal health by 2015.
The plan also focuses on prevention of sexually transmitted infections, reproductive health care for adults, cervical cancer and informational activities to change reproductive healthcare behaviours.
Each year, around 8 million women worldwide suffer from complications related to pregnancy, and nearly 500,000 die.
In Viet Nam, the fatality rate of mothers due to pregnancy-related problems has fallen in recent years, thanks to the Government's investment in healthcare, especially for mothers and newborns.
The rate in 2010 was 68.3 per 100,000 live births, a drop from 69 per 100,000 live births in 2009.
However, the rate of maternal and newborn mortality in the country's mountainous provinces, especially in the north, remains high.
The rate in northern mountainous provinces was 200 per 100,000 live births, followed by Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands), with 100 per 100,000 live births.
Hong pointed out that the causes for maternal mortality was post-partum hemorrhage (34.7-43.4 per cent), preeclamsia (10.7- 18.4 per cent), infection (7.4-14.3 per cent), amniotic fluid embolism (4.1-4.9 per cent), abortion (5.7 per cent), and other complications.
The maternal fatality rate among mothers pregnant with their third baby or more was 5.6 times higher than women with a second baby.
The total number of maternal deaths due to giving birth at home or on the way to health facilities was five times higher than deliveries at health facilities.
The death rate of ethnic minority women was three times higher than the death rate of native Vietnamese Kinh mothers, often due to ethnic minority people's traditional customs, insufficient finances and difficulties in travelling.
The 2010 population and housing census showed that the infant mortality rate had fallen in recent years.
The rate dropped to 12 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010, from 16 per 1,000 live births in 2009.
However, the number of newborn deaths calculated based on the country's population structure was still high, with more than 16,000 newborn deaths per year, according to United Nations Children's Fund in 2007.