Disparities remain in Vietnam's health care for children: report

Thanh Nien News

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Children of the Co Tu ethnic group in Quang Nam Province. Photo: Thanh Nguyen Children of the Co Tu ethnic group in Quang Nam Province. Photo: Thanh Nguyen

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Despite the tremendous progress Vietnam has made in reducing its under-five child mortality rate over the last two decades, a new research has found that large groups of children are still being left behind. 
Where they live and the circumstances in which they are born are key determinants of child survival, according to the Lottery of Birth report released Thursday by Save the Children. 
The report found Vietnamese children born into the Kinh ethnic group were nearly three and a half times less likely to die than their non-Kinh peers.
In Vietnam, parents from minority ethnic groups are less aware of government health programs and information about their conditions and treatment, an issue exacerbated by language barriers and local habits of neonatal care, the report said.
According to Save the Children, the total neonatal mortality accounts for 54 percent of deaths among children under five in Vietnam. 
The London-based organization did not provide comparative data in its report, but said the country's under-five mortality rate has fallen the last 20 years. 
Low income countries
Based on inaugural analysis of data from 87 low and middle income countries around the world, the report reveals that, in more than three quarters of these countries, inequalities in child survival rates are actually worsening.
This has resulted in some groups of children making far slower progress than their better-off peers. 
“In this day and age, it is scandalous that so many children’s chances of survival across the world is purely a matter of whether or not they were lucky enough to be born into an affluent family who can access quality healthcare,” said Gunnar Andersen, Vietnam’s country director for Save the Children.
The organization warned that, without a true step change in action, the lottery of birth will continue into the future, for generations to come. 
“We know that change is possible. We now have a significant window of opportunity to drive this change; world leaders must do everything in their power to ensure that they grasp this opportunity with both hands,” Andersen said. 

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