Translate Page

HOME     //     OUR RESULTS     //     LESS GUESS Blog

Viet Nam

Viet Nam - Mom feeding baby

Duration: June 2009 to December 2014 

Ensuring nutrition benefits in a vibrant economy

June 2009 to December 2014

In Viet Nam, Alive & Thrive worked in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), the Women’s Union, the General Confederation of Labor, the Institute of Legislative Studies, provincial authorities, and UNICEF to improve infant and young child feeding (IYCF).

Download the Viet Nam country profile brief.

Program Approach

  • Advocacy to foster political support and increased funding for IYCF programs through in-depth policy research, technical support for development of the National Nutrition Strategy and IYCF Action Plan, planning tools and consultative workshops, key opinion leaders as IYCF champions, and a methodical, iterative process to change policies
  • Interpersonal communication and community mobilization
    • Quality IYCF individual and group counseling sessions provided by trained health staff at 781 facilities that have met the social franchise for IYCF counseling criteria: a counseling room matching specifications, health staff and community workers trained in IYCF, and availability of IYCF job aids and client materials
    • Community mobilization by trained community-based workers to encourage mothers and family members to attend the social franchises
    • 225 villages with three types of community-based IYCF support groups to give access to information and support and provide a forum for women to share their experiences
  • Mass communication to reach key audiences repeatedly with a common, tested message, boost reach in a timely and cost-efficient way, and help create a supportive environment for behavior change, particularly exclusive breastfeeding
    • Four TV spots broadcast on national and provincial channels
    • Out-of-home: billboards, LCD screens in hospitals and supermarkets playing the TV spots, bus ads, community loudspeakers, and posters
    • Digital: IYCF website with forum and online counseling, social media, mobile application, and internet ads
  • Strategic use of data to inform advocacy strategies and tactics, program design, and program implementation and adjustments


  • 2.3 million mothers of children under 2 reached. From January 2012 to March 2014, the program reached 460,000 mothers of children under 2 years of age through interpersonal communication (counseling at health facilities and community-based support groups). These women and almost 2 million additional women in this target population were reached through mass media.  By late 2013, an average of 100,000 counseling contacts were made monthly in A&T-supported health facilities.
  • Improved practices. In an evaluation of the Alive & Thrive mass media campaign in four provinces, exclusive breastfeeding increased from 26 percent before the campaign to 48 percent after one year of the campaign. A process evaluation reported that in three years (2010-2013), exclusive breastfeeding increased from 19 percent to 62 percent in Alive & Thrive areas with mass media and social franchises, much higher than in those areas with mass media interventions only.
  • Improved service delivery. A process evaluation found that staff at health facilities supported by Alive & Thrive demonstrated significantly better IYCF knowledge and interpersonal communication skills and offered more comprehensive counseling sessions than staff in the comparison facilities. All 15 provinces with franchises developed plans to sustain counseling services and to offer counseling services in 237 new franchises in commune health centers.
  • Supportive legislation.On January 18, 2012, Viet Nam’s National Assembly made a landmark decision to extend paid maternity leave from 4 to 6 months in support of exclusive breastfeeding. Three days later the National Assembly expanded the ban on advertising of breastmilk substitutes to 24 months.
  • Supportive workplaces. Lactation support programs were put in place in 70 locations (60 companies and 10 government agencies). The program involved setting up private spaces to enable mothers to safely express and store breastmilk and orientation sessions for employees and staff on breastfeeding and the rights under the law to paid maternity leave and breastfeeding breaks.
  • Inclusion of IYCF indicators. These indicators are now routinely collected in the annual National Nutrition Surveillance of the National Institute of Nutrition. Results are shared widely in visually attractive, user-friendly formats.