Vietnam: Integrated Nutrition and Food Security Strategies for Children and Vulnerable Groups in Viet Nam
Despite the fact that Viet Nam has achieved a significant reduction in malnutrition among children under five, malnutrition remains a public health priority. Strong regional disparities in nutritional status persist and vulnerable groups are facing additional challenges of higher food prices, the financial crisis and natural disasters. The Joint Programme is working with the government to reduce the prevalence of malnutrition among under-fives and to prevent future malnutrition.
The programme is focused on improving food security by increased production and consumption of safe quality food and targeted supplementation. This is both a short term strategy to address current issues of malnutrition through breast feeding, iron and vitamin A supplementation, and a long term strategy to provide a higher quality diet through improved food production systems, including animal (meat and milk) and aquaculture products.
The whole is based on strengthened information and mapping systems, including nutritional sentinel surveillance, food security and early warning, and market information systems as well as enhanced capacity for data production, management and dissemination.
Specifically, the programme's goals are:
i) Improving monitoring systems on food, health and nutrition status of mothers and children so that they can be used to guide food, health and nutrition-related policies, strategies and actions;
ii) Improving infant and young child feeding practices, including increased compliance with the UNICEF/WHO guidelines on exclusive breastfeeding from 0-6 months and safe complementary feeding for children 6-24 months;
iii) Reducing micronutrient deficiencies in targeted children and women;
iv) Improving care and treatment for children with severe malnutrition and improving nutrition services for young children in emergency situations; and
v) Improving the availability, access and consumption of a more diverse food supply in selected highland and mountainous regions in Viet Nam.
The Joint Programme in action
JOINT PROGRAMME QUICK FACTS
- With direct technical support from the JP, the 2011-2020 National Nutrition Strategy was finalized and submitted to the Prime Minister for approval in December 2011.
- Social mobilization and advocacy programmes on breastfeeding promotion have yielded positive results. The policy advocacy resulted in two laws that were passed by the National Assembly in June 2012, relating to the law on 6 months' paid maternity leave for breastfeeding women, Decree 21 on Marketing of Nutrition Products for Young Children, as well as a ban of advertisint of milk, breast milk substitutes for children under 24 month, and nutrient complimentary foods for children under 6 months.
- The programme has supported improvements in availability, access and consumption of more diverse food through: the introduction of Farmer Field School for 350 farmers and demonstration sites in 3 provinces; promotion of the homestead food model for the target provinces, including fruit gardens and soy bean production; and the introduction of rice seed production models to farmer in disadvantaged areas. Results of the JP on improvement of nutrition intake in agricultural production have been used as good practices for the restructuring of the agriculture sector, informing the current National Target Programme on New Rural Areas of the country.