A girl enjoys milk at her preschool in Vietnam’s Bac Kan province.
Vietnam was a very different place 20 years ago. Poverty was widespread, with millions of families struggling to feed their children. Today, much progress has been made, but malnutrition remains one of the most serious health risks faced by Vietnamese children.
Protecting the Future
According to UNICEF, one-third of Vietnamese children under the age of 5 are stunted as a result of malnutrition. But Vietnam is making progress, currently leading the way in decreasing rates of malnutrition. Data from the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDG) initiative says that 44 percent of Vietnamese children under 5 were malnourished in 1994, compared to 17 percent in 2010. Overall, rates of child malnutrition are declining by 1.5 percent every year.
Thanks to the progress that has been made during this time, Luu Thi Hong, deputy director of the Ministry of Health's Department of Maternal and Child Health, said that Vietnam is currently two years ahead of schedule to meet its MDG of reducing child malnutrition. However, many children, particularly in rural regions, still lack access to nutritious food that they need to develop healthily.
Life is particularly hard for many families living in Vietnam's mountainous areas, with rough terrain and a lack of roads creating greater isolation. This results in disparities between rural communities and urban areas in terms of malnutrition reduction.
If children do not receive the vitamins and nutrients they need to grow, their overall health can be affected well into adulthood. As well as potentially harming cognitive development, malnutrition can also lead to reduced immunity to disease and heightened susceptibility to infection.
To combat child malnutrition in Vietnam, ChildFund launched a project in November 2012 to provide milk for vulnerable children in mountain communities. Milk is one of the best sources of nutrients for growing children, providing vitamins A, D, and B12, in addition to calcium and potassium, all of which are vital for healthy development.
Our goal is to raise $14,500 to provide fresh milk to 15,000 children in Vietnam's mountainous regions. To date, we have raised almost $5,000, but we need your help to achieve this goal. Please consider making a donation to this project and help us bring milk to children in need.