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Reliable population data is key to measuring progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals

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wpd_2010_copyWorld Population Day 2010 – Everyone Counts

HA NOI, 2 July 2010 – At a press conference organized today in Hanoi to commemorate the 2010 World Population Day, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the United Nations (UN) in Viet Nam emphasized the importance of available, reliable and timely data in guiding evidence-based policy formulation and implementation. Good data is essential for making good decisions, and information on population dynamics, including age and sex structure, ethnicity, fertility, mortality, sex ratio at birth, as well as migration and urbanization trends, are crucial in advancing development, according to the Government and UN officials.

Governments need to be able to gather information and track, analyze, disseminate and utilize population data in order to create and manage sound policies and generate political will to address current and future trends,” Urmila Singh, Deputy Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), pointed out while acknowledging that Viet Nam has made steps forward in this regard. “The 2009 Population and Housing Census is a very good example on how detailed data should be collected, analyzed and utilized to undertake more robust development planning.

According to the results from the 2009 Census, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has remained below the replacement level and has fallen from 2.33 children per woman in 1999 to 2.03 children per woman in 2009. This will help to lift population growth pressure on Viet Nam’s socio-economic development, as well as reduce associated strains on the political and social security system. It will also contribute to provide society, especially women and girls, more convenient and effective access to health care, education, employment and other social protection services.

The census data shows that Viet Nam’s Crude Death Rate (CDR) and Infant Mortality Rates (IMR) are declining. The CDR is 6.8 per 1,000 persons while the IMR has fallen from 36.7 in 1999 to 16 per 1,000 live births in 2009. The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) is now 69 per 100,000 live births. However, there are still significant differences between the river deltas and mountainous areas, with higher ratios in remote ethnic minority areas. This gap needs to be addressed in order to reach the Millennium Development Goal 5, which calls for a reduction of maternal mortality by 75 percent by 2015.

Our collective efforts to achieve the MDGs must remain a priority. In order to enhance the quality of health and reproductive health services for ethnic minority people in remote and mountainous areas, we need to pay special attention to ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups, ” said Mr Nguyen Ba Thuy, Vice Minister of Health.

Besides a decline in fertility and mortality, Viet Nam’s Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) has experienced an unusually rapid rise over in recent years, from 106.2 in 2000 up to 110.5 boys per 100 girls, according to 2009 Census. The data also shows that sex selection is practiced more in Red River Delta provinces and among better-off households in Viet Nam.

More work needs to be done to strengthen public education and to promote gender equality to enhance the important role of women both within families and society,” stated Mr Thuy.

Internal migration is a driving force for development but represents another emerging challenge for the country, particularly in recent decades. The total number of internal migrants within a five-year period prior to the 2009 Census increased to 6.6 million people. Migration from rural to urban areas, which is the main migration flow in Viet Nam, puts significant pressure on existing urban infrastructure and social services.

“Population dynamics influence every aspect of human, social and economic development. We need to bear in mind the importance of the data collected from the recent Population and Housing Census and other reliable sources, and utilize it as evidence for measuring progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Data from the census is also crucial for the development of strategies and plans, such as the five-year health plan, the national HIV strategy, and the Population and Reproductive Health Strategy, 2011-2020,” said the UNFPA Deputy Representative.

On the occasion of the World Population Day 2010, the MOH and the UN in Viet Nam called on the Vietnamese Government and the country’s decision makers to effectively utilize the data collected from the Census 2009 in order to make the most efficient investments that meet the needs and circumstances of the population and help to lift people out of poverty.


Notes to editors:

This year witnesses the 21th annual World Population Day. The day was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989 as a way to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. It was an outgrowth of the interest generated by the Day of Five Billion, which was observed on 11 July, 1987.

Over the past four decades, UNFPA has played a critical role supporting data collection and utilization efforts in programme countries. Last year, UNFPA supported the Government of Viet Nam to implement the 2009 Census by providing assistance to develop the census plan and design the questionnaires; compiling core manuals for census mapping, enumerators and trainers; carrying out pre-tests and pilot surveys; providing training on mapping and housing listing and training for census organizers, supervisors and trainers nationwide; as well as analyzing the data, supporting the dissemination and utilization for more evidence-based decision making at all levels.

See speech by by Ms. Urmila Singh, UNFPA Deputy Representative. On behalf of the United Nations Country Team

For further information, please contact:

  • Ms Dang Thi Bich Thuan
    Vice Director
    Communication & Education Department - GOPFP
    Tel: (84-4) 3823 5806
    Mob: 0913508947
    Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Ms Nguyen Thi Hong Thanh
    One UN Communications
    Tel: (84-4) 3822 4383 – Ext: 117
    Mob: 0913 093363
    Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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