Ha Noi, 12 December 2012 - At the first national conference on Sexual and Reproductive Health organized today in Ha Noi, the Ministry of Health (MOH), The Ha Noi School of Public Health (HSPH) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Viet Nam emphasized that it is critical to strengthen the use of research-based evidence for development of health policies and programmes, especially in the area of sexual and reproductive health area.
Participants of the conference were representatives from MOH, health scientists, experts, policy makers and programmers from the medical school, hospitals, research institutes, government agencies at the national and sub-national levels as well as the United Nations organizations, the international and local NGOs in Viet Nam.
Addressing the conference, Vice Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien said: "Strengthening scientific research, disseminating and using research based evidence and data will contribute significantly to addressing emerging challenges of the sexual and reproductive health care, for example, maintaining fertility rate at replacement level; reducing the imbalanced sex ratio at birth, maternal death rate and child death rate, especially infant mortality rate, abortion rate; and improving sexual and reproductive health care services for young people and adolescents, older persons and other vulnerable groups, including people living with HIV and ethnic minority people".
Data from the Ministry of Health and other population-based surveys indicates that Viet Nam has made substantial progress, integrating family planning into the general health service, while further strengthening safe motherhood and newborn health services. However, certain population groups, such as adolescents, young and unmarried people, migrants and ethnic minority people, have limited access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. As a result, a significant number of pregnancies are unintended, especially among the young and unmarried.
In addition, maternal deaths still occur in mountainous and hard-to-reach areas and sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), continue to be a challenge, indicating that more prevention efforts are needed.
Presentations from the national experts provided an overview of national research on sexual and reproductive health in Viet Nam during the period 2006-2010; highlighted the current situation and challenges of sexual and reproductive health care in Viet Nam; and recommended policy implications on sexual and reproductive health for the period of 2011-2020. International experts also presented on sexual and reproductive health in the Asia Pacific region as well as an orientation for future research in this area.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Mandeep K. O'Brien, UNFPA Representative a.i in Viet Nam stressed: "Viet Nam has entered a period of golden population, recording the highest proportion of young people ever in the country's history. Therefore, more research on young people’s sexual and reproductive health is needed to provide sound evidence for development of SRH policy and programmes that respond to their actual SRH needs". She also added that research plays a fundamental role in identifying emerging issues, for example, sex ratio at birth imbalance, where both quantitative and qualitative researches have guided programme interventions in Viet Nam.
The outcomes of the conference will help orient the future research on sexual and reproductive health in Viet Nam, accelerating the progress towards achieving the universal access to sexual and reproductive health by 2015.
At the conference, the MOH, the HSPH and the UNFPA in Viet Nam pledge their commitment to continue working together to maintain the achievement and sustainability of the sexual and reproductive health care in Viet Nam. Reproductive health care, including voluntary family planning, protects the health of young people, women and their children.