In a collection of papers just published by the journal Global Health Action, researchers report in detail on progress Vietnam has made toward achieving specific health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by UN member states a decade-and-a-half ago.
Declining acceptance of domestic violence, falling infant mortality rates, increased access to antenatal care by skilled staff and better access to improved water sources and sanitation facilities are among successes reported in the Special Issue.
Titled Millennium Development Goals in Vietnam: the Progress and Social Determinants, the issue is comprised of 13 articles and an editorial. Among topics analyzed: infant mortality and early childhood morbidity; child malnutrition; maternal healthcare; modern contraceptive use among married women, and secular trends in HIV knowledge and attitudes.
Hoang Van Minh, a physician and researcher with the Hanoi School of Public Health in Vietnam, co-authored the editorial. While pleased with the “outstanding progress” Vietnam has made, Minh is quick to point out the major challenges that still lie ahead for the nation.
“Yes, we have achieved several MDGs, but progress toward these goals is not equal throughout the country; there are still gaps in achievement of health-related MDGs between different segments of the population,” said Minh. “In the future, more attention will need to be given to reducing this inequity.”
Minh, whose own research has focused on inequities in health outcomes, health service utilization, health financing as well as the influence of other social determinants, like tobacco and alcohol use on individual health, says that it is these reported differences that are most striking among the findings published.
The inequity Minh references is illustrated in several papers in the issue that delve into various health-related MDGs disfavoring disadvantaged segments of the population.
Looking to the future, Minh and his colleagues wrote in the editorial: “In the post-2015 period, the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Vietnam will need to maintain continuing efforts to meet the targets and achieve equity in the distribution of health and access to affordable care.”
All articles in this special issue are freely available at Global Health Action online.
Notes & Additional Resources
Global Health Action is an international peer-reviewed Open Access journal affiliated with the Centre for Global Health Research (CGH) at Umeå University, Sweden, and published by Co-Action Publishing.