November 12th, 2019
SUBMITTED TO: The World Health Organization
FROM: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
SUBJECT: Infant and Child Nutrition
Of the 7.2 million children under 5 years of age in Vietnam, approximately 1.6 million (23%) are stunted. These undernourished children have an increased risk of mortality, illness and infections, delayed development, cognitive deficits, poorer school performance, and fewer years in school. While Vietnam had made progress in reducing malnutrition, it is still a major concern. One in 5 children in Vietnam are stunted due to malnourishment or malnutrition. Some immediate drivers of these malnutrition issues are suboptimal IYCF practices (including delayed initiation of breastfeeding, low rates of exclusive breastfeeding, delayed introduction of complementary food, and insufficient frequency of feeding complementary food), maternal malnutrition including underweight and anemia, low vaccination coverage, and early marriage among ethnic minorities. Those are just the immediate concerns.
In addition to those, there are also basic, long-term, drivers for malnourishment. Those include maternal employment and maternity leave laws (which had previously required women to return to work less than 6 months postpartum), poverty that affects the lowest wealth quintile, change in legislation making iodization of salt voluntary rather than mandatory, commercialization and aggressive marketing of infant feeding products, particularly formula, and insufficient priority/importance given to nutrition (particularly breastfeeding) by policymakers. Vietnam wishes to acknowledge these globally so that other nations understand that these are potential reasons for malnourishment.
Vietnam would like to see solutions for most or all of the aforementioned drivers. What does a short-term vs long-term plan for the reduction of malnutrition look like? Vietnam believes outlining these plans would make a good resolution. Vietnam would also be interested in hearing of other countries’ potential malnutrition drivers because the nation of Vietnam fully understands that there are different circumstances worldwide. Vietnam also believes it would be beneficial to outline these indicators and educate citizens globally of the potential causes. This way citizens will know the common causes. Overall, Vietnam acknowledges the utmost importance of nutrition in the most developmental stages of human life.
- Brooke Orlando