Vitamin Angels Improves Maternal & Child Nutrition in Vietnam
Vitamin Angels leverages longstanding partnerships to expand and strengthen coverage of essential nutrition interventions from pregnancy through the first 5 years.
Our Annual Reach in VIETNAM
Pregnant Women & Babies
111,240 with UNIMMAP MMS
Children Under 5
9 million with vitamin A and deworming treatment
Working in all of the 63 provinces
Save the Children Vietnam – Since 2008
National Institute of Nutrition – Since 2021
Chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies that lead to stunting and pregnancy complications are widespread in Vietnam and disproportionately affect ethnic and rural communities.
Public Health Challenges
1 in 5 children in Vietnam suffer from stunting. In ethnic minority communities, as many as 1 in 3 children are affected. [i] [ii]
20% of women of reproductive age (15-40) and 28% of pregnant women suffer from anemia. [iii] [iv]
Since 2008, Vitamin Angels has partnered with Save the Children Vietnam to reach rural and high-risk communities with nutrition interventions proven to address malnutrition.
Vietnam Faces Difficulties to Achieve Global Nutrition Targets for Mothers and Children
Despite progress in recent decades, malnutrition remains prevalent in Vietnam, and the country has fallen off course to meet all global targets for maternal, infant, and young child nutrition. [v] Vietnam carries one of the highest burdens of stunting, or chronic malnutrition, which affects 1 in 5 children. [i] Stunting rates are considerably higher among ethnic minority communities in Vietnam, affecting as many as 1 in 3 children. [ii] Micronutrient deficiencies are also widespread, with 23% of children under age five and 28% of pregnant women suffering from anemia, which can result in serious pregnancy complications, including maternal and child death. [iii] [iv]
Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country with a population of 98.1 million people in 2022. [vi]
We Deliver Impactful Nutrition Interventions Through the Power of Partnership
Making an Impact in Vietnam since 2008
Vitamin Angels began collaborating with Save the Children Vietnam in 2008 to expand coverage of essential nutrition interventions to pregnant women, infants, and young children in underserved communities. Today, we are reaching the highest need provinces with vitamin A supplementation and deworming treatment (VAS+D) for children under age 5 and multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS) for pregnant women.
For Save the Children, it is a very special, long-standing partnership. We are also very happy to be a bridge between Vitamin Angels and the government here in Vietnam.”
Vuong Dinh Giap, Director of Program Implementation, Save the Children Vietnam
Ensuring National Supply of High-Impact Interventions
While Vietnam has implemented MMS initiatives as part of its antenatal care services since the 1990s, a significant reduction of central investment for the program in 2018 caused a shortage in supply and operational costs. Since then, Vitamin Angels and Save the Children have delivered approximately 10-14 million tablets of MMS per year to the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN). This allowed NIN to prioritize delivery of MMS to pregnant women in 85 of the poorest districts in 28 provinces across the country. In 2022, Vitamin Angels and Save the Children delivered enough MMS and VAS+D to reach 9 million women and children.
We began delivering proven nutrition solutions to Vietnamese communities underserved by existing systems in 2008.
In 2018, we began supplying Save the Children Vietnam with MMS for the highest need provinces.
Supporting National Efforts
Partnering to Improve the Nutrition Status of Vietnamese Citizens
The National Institute of Nutrition, a leading scientific research institute under the Vietnam’s Ministry of Health, collaborates with international entities like Save the Children and Vitamin Angels, and provides guidance and training to the nutrition workforce across all 63 provinces.
“Every one of our children as well as women, especially those living in vulnerable regions have been benefiting from the provision of multivitamins and vitamin A supplements for many years,” said Truong Tuyet Mai, Vice Director of NIN. For that reason, she continued, “We believe that Save the Children and Vitamin Angels have been instrumental in helping us achieve our goals of enhancing nutrition and reducing malnutrition rates among children.”
Understanding the MMS Landscape to Improve Policy and Expand Coverage
As part of their ongoing efforts to tackle malnutrition, Vietnam’s National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) developed a new National Nutrition Strategy, which provides an opportunity to incorporate new evidence-based nutrition interventions, like MMS, into the national strategy. Vitamin Angels partnered with NIN, in collaboration with other national stakeholders, to undertake an assessment to identify barriers, constraints, and opportunities for integrating MMS into the new strategy, using a participatory approach. This landscape analysis included mapping context and the extent of readiness for implementing MMS in Vietnam and identifying stakeholders and key influencers that are supportive and/or potentially supportive of accelerating MMS uptake and use. Vitamin Angels and its partners leveraged these insights to make policy recommendations for investments and activities to effectively introduce and scale MMS.
Our Plan for the Future
Vitamin Angels will continue its partnership with Save the Children Vietnam to distribute VAS to children under age five. Additionally, Vitamin Angels will work with NIN to build the capacity of provincial health staff from Vietnam’s 63 provinces on MMS implementation and support them in the development of MMS implementation plans for their communities.
Vitamin Angels is supporting Vietnam’s National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) to incorporate high-impact nutrition interventions, including MMS, into the national nutrition strategy and policies, and build capacity of local health workers to deliver MMS.
The Chieng Lao Health Center is Improving Antenatal Care with MMS
Pia, a seasoned midwife at the Chieng Lao health center, has supported countless mothers over her 30-year career. Known for her innovative tracking systems, Pia and her team diligently monitor pregnant women’s health and ensure they don’t miss vital appointments. Recently, more women are registering for antenatal care, a positive change Pia attributes to the clinic’s distribution of vitamin A to children, helping women grasp the value of supplements. Dispensing MMS has also changed the dynamic of her work, with more patients visiting rather than Pia having to travel door-to-door.
Hong, a newlywed who is expecting her first child, is one of Pia’s patients. She learned about MMS and received her first bottle during her initial appointment and has been taking one tablet daily ever since.
[i] World Bank. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.STA.STNT.ZS?locations=VN
[ii] World Bank. https://documents.worldbank.org/en/publication/documents-reports/documentdetail/369601561716089327/persistent-malnutrition-in-ethnic-minority-communities-of-vietnam-issues-and-options-for-policy-and-interventions
[iii] World Bank. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.ANM.CHLD.ZS?locations=VN
[iv] World Bank. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.PRG.ANEM?locations=VN
[v] Global Nutrition Report. Country Nutrition Profile, Vietnam. https://globalnutritionreport.org/resources/nutrition-profiles/asia/south-eastern-asia/viet-nam/
[vi] World Bank. https://data.worldbank.org/country/viet-nam?view=chart