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Vietnam, Children of the Plateau

In developing countries, diseases linked to pregnancy and birth delivery are the second cause of mortality (after HIV) for adult women. 99% of women whose death is caused by birth complications, live in developing countries. Maternal health is still one of the fields in which the gap between rich and poor is the widest.

When it doesn’t lead to the mother’s death, lack of care during pregnancy and delivery often affects the child: in the world, each year, 8 million children are born with congenital malformation, 95% of them in developing countries. According to the WHO, 70% of these malformations could be avoided or cured. Vietnam is one of the 10 countries in the world that achieved the Millennium Development Goal 5 on maternal health defined by the UN, and is about to reach the level of average income countries. Nevertheless, great socio-economical disparities remain between the main ethnic group Kinh and the 53 other groups (10 million people) that represent almost half of poor people in Vietnam. The most vulnerable women are part of the poorest ethnic group. Poverty, lack of education of the mothers and their relatives, and the lack of skills of the medical staff in rural areas are the main reasons for the frequent malformations and children’s deaths. Between 80 to 120 children are born every day in Vietnam with congenital malformationsin Vietnam.

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