National priorities on sexual, reproductive health and family planning beyond 2015 were announced at a workshop held by the Ministry of Health and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Hanoi on December 18.
Accordingly, Vietnam will focus on improving access and quality of health services in areas with high maternal death ratio while bettering quality of health services in areas with low maternal mortality.
The Ministry of Health and relevant bodies also plan to increase information provision on the issues to teens and adolescents and single youths, and enhance public-private partnership in providing friendly sexual and reproductive health services and birth controls.
Furthermore, the priorities include developing a new approach for the delivery of family planning services, the development of national standards for quality management of birth controls and the design of a comprehensive strategy for prevention and control of reproductive cancers.
In his remarks at the workshop, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien said the priorities on sexual, reproductive health and family planning beyond 2015 will be fundamental for the health authority to formulate and effectively implement the country’s 5-year health care plan and the national strategy on population and reproductive health for 2016-2020.
These priorities need to be well integrated into policies and projects of the government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and development partners after 2015, he added.
Over the past years, Vietnam has made big strides towards the UN Millennium Development Goals by expanding coverage of its sexual and reproductive health care.
However, there is still a substantial regional disparity in service access while one third of young people reported obstacles in accessing sexual and reproductive health information and services.
According to the UNFPA, of the 23 million Vietnamese women between the age of 15-49, about 79 percent use some form of contraception. However, more than one-third of single women have an unmet need for contraception. This unmet need is particularly high among ethnic minority women and female migrant workers. As a result, there is a significant number of unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions every year, especially among unmarried young people.