Abbott Fund Program to Fight Malnutrition in Vietnam
Children in Vietnam are afflicted with some of the most severe forms of malnutrition, an unacceptable reality caused by limited access to nourishing food and a lack of nutritional education. According to UNICEF, more than 25% of Vietnamese children under five are underweight and more than 10% of Vietnamese children suffer from vitamin A deficiency. To help improve the overall nutritional health of children in rural areas of Vietnam, the Abbott Fund is working with AmeriCares to support the Giao-Diem Humanitarian Foundation. Together, the Abbott Fund and its partners are improving the nutritional status of school age children in three rural provinces of Vietnam - Quang Tri, Hue, and Dong Thap - where childhood malnutrition rates are among the highest in the country. This successful initiative targets nutritional health early in life. Administered through a network of local schools, the program focuses on three main components: nutrition support with multivitamins and nourishing local food products; training and health education for teachers, staff and parents; and school infrastructure improvements. During the flooding and raining season, Abbott also donates pediatric nutritional products. In 2009, the Abbott Fund initiative reached 73 classrooms and more than 2,200 children. During the 2008-2009 school year the program reduced the prevalence of child malnutrition in three provinces from an average of 31% to 18%. In addition to improving the health and nutrition outcomes for enrolled children, Abbott's support of the program contributes to Vietnam's national efforts to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. In association with Goal 1 on extreme poverty and hunger, Vietnam aims to reduce the proportion of people living under the food poverty line by 75% by 2010. In association with Goal 4 on child mortality, the partnership is helping Vietnam reduce the proportion of children under five who are malnourished down to 20% by 2010. This program serves as a sustainable model for improving pediatric nutrition in rural Vietnam. Abbott is currently supporting efforts by other organizations to replicate this model program at seven additional locations.