Follow us on: 

Improving health through hygiene

Print Email

UNONE-387A global United Nations call for urgent action to address people's basic sanitation needs was answered by the Vietnamese Government in 2013 with local UN agencies helping to target equity-focussed interventions.

While Viet Nam has made impressive progress on improving sanitation coverage, doubling the proportion of rural and urban populations using improved sanitation facilities over the past decade, one-in-four people and more than half of ethnic minority groups do not have access to proper latrines with open defecation still commonplace in many rural areas.

As part of a renewed effort to drive progress to meet looming 2015 MDG targets and end a vicious cycle of disease and entrenched poverty, UN agencies in 2013 helped the Government implement a key initiative to meet the sanitation needs of poor communities.

The Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) programme left its mark on 483 villages across the country, providing approximately 4,500 new latrines to households in seven provinces. This UN-supported, Ministry of Health (MoH) community-based sanitation programme was also implemented in 150 poor households in Quang Tri Province's Cam Lo district, while 5,600 households benefitted from the establishment of clean water connections in the peri-urban areas of Cam Ranh and Lam Lo in Khanh Hoa and Quang Tri provinces, respectively, with UN assistance.

The year also witnessed the UN's continued strengthening of Government and communities' capacities to implement other water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices. More than 476,000 people without access to safe water benefited from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's UN-supported implementation of household water treatment and storage (HWTS) in 47 new communes, backed up by HWTS training of trainers for 130 provincial water and sanitation units, seven cascade training courses and 20 trainings provided on community-led total sanitation to district and commune representatives.

WASH was also seen through the lens of two other important areas of UN work, disaster risk management and climate change adaptation (DRM/CCA), with the UN entering into a strategic partnership with Danish International Development Agency and national partners to develop a national framework for the WASH sector and initiate provincial action planning in six provinces.

Communicating these WASH-focused initiatives was also a priority in 2013, with a Communication for Development plan at national and sub-national levels developed and backed up by three planning and implementation training events for 120 focal points across 63 provinces. Headlined by support from UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mr. Xuan Bac and the participation of ethnic minority children in Lao Cai Province, a communications campaign was implemented with two productions to promote hand washing, sanitation and safe drinking water disseminated via national and provincial TV broadcasts.

Implementation of water safety plans (WSPs) - developed with UN technical input - in urban areas was also scaled up in 2013 and supported by UN-facilitated trainings on advanced WSPs conducted in Da Nang and in Binh Dinh and Thai Nguyen provinces for the piloting of WSPs in rural areas. A circular on safe water supplies to guide the WSPs' implementation, especially in poor rural areas, was drafted and senior MoH and provincial water authority officials sent to Malaysia and the United Kingdom on study tours.

At a policy level, the UN stepped up its WASH advocacy programme in the shape of a position paper, produced with the MoH, delivered to the Prime Minister's Office to advocate for accelerating sanitation interventions to add momentum to the MoH's intention to apply for membership of the global Sanitation and Water for All forum. The Open Defecation Free (ODF) guidelines and manual developed by the MoH with UN technical assistance in 2013.

Fresh advocacy for increased community approaches to total sanitation was also

undertaken through the dissemination of community-led total sanitation (CLTS), which has resulted in 125 villages accommodating 30,000 people achieving ODF status since the UN's introduction of CLTS to Viet Nam four years ago. CLTS is being implemented in 30 provinces by NGOs and as part of the National Target Programme on Rural Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation 2012-2015.




1 December 2017

Michel Sidibé
Executive Director of UNAIDS
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations

This World AIDS Day, we are highlighting the importance of the right to health and the challenges that people living with and affected by HIV face in fulfilling that right.


Community spaces design contest for an exciting hanoi

Ha Noi, October 17/10/2017 - Aiming at improving the living environment and bringing culture and art to the community towards a better urban future, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) successfully developed the project “Promote participatory, community-based and youth-led approach in safe, greening public spaces in Hoan Kiem district toward a pro-poor, inclusive and sustainable urban development” (hereinafter called Public Spaces project) under the Block by Block program with Mojang, the makers of the videogame Minecraft.


Deadline for round 1: From 17/10/2017 to 04/11/2017 Extended to 9 November 2017


Harsh punishment for child offenders doesn’t prevent further criminality

The age at which a child, can be held criminally liable is a controversial issue around the world. Within Viet Nam, this issue is currently being grappled with in the Penal Code amendments. Some argue that a "get tough on crime" approach is necessary to punish children to prevent further criminality.

However, international research shows that because of their developmental stages, labelling and treating children as criminals at an early age can have serious negative impacts on their development and successful rehabilitation.


New Year Greetings from the United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. in Viet Nam


On the occasion of New Year 2017, on behalf of the United Nations family in Viet Nam I wish to reiterate our appreciation and express our warmest wishes to our partners and friends throughout the country. We wish our partners and their families in Viet Nam peace, prosperity, good health and happiness in the coming year.

As we enter the second year of the Sustainable Development Goals era, we look forward to continuing our close cooperation for the sake of Viet Nam’s future development; one which is inclusive, equitable and sustainable, with no one left behind.

Youssouf Abdel-Jelil
United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. in Viet Nam


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December


Thirty-five years since the emergence of AIDS, the international community can look back with some pride.  But we must also look ahead with resolve and commitment to reach our goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

There has been real progress in tackling the disease. More people than ever are on treatment.  Since 2010, the number of children infected through mother to child transmission has dropped by half. Fewer people die of AIDS related causes each year.  And people living with HIV are living longer lives.

The number of people with access to life-saving medicines has doubled over the past five years, now topping 18 million. With the right investments, the world can get on the fast-track to achieve our target of 30 million people on treatment by 2030.  Access to HIV medicines to prevent mother to child transmission is now available to more than 75 per cent of those in need.