Kimberly-Clark and UNICEF have announced the extension of Huggies® ‘No Baby Unhugged’ program to Vietnam. The partnership will invest $1 million over the next three years to improve neonatal health outcomes in the rural mountainous and central highland provinces of north and central Vietnam and reduce infant mortality.
Over the past 25 years, Vietnam has achieved significant improvements in survival rates for children under five years of age, reducing from 52 to 21 deaths per 1,000 live births, between 1990 and 2018. Despite this progress, infant mortality rates in the North and Central Highlands remain high and in some provinces such as Lai Chau and Kon Tum, the rates are three times higher than the national average.
“As the maker of Huggies®, Kimberly-Clark is committed to the hope that one day no baby will remain unhugged for lack of care and facilities,” said Ashwini Nagpal, Managing Director of Kimberly-Clark Vietnam. “Newborns in Vietnam now have a better chance of survival than ever before, and we hope that through this partnership, we can assist the government in achieving its goals in these remote, difficult to access areas as well.”
The partnership, signed at the United Nations House in Hanoi, commits to provide targeted support to 7 provinces, including Dien Bien, Lao Cai, Son La, Lai Chau, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, and Dak Nong. Through collaboration with Vietnam’s Department of Maternal and Child Health, the program will strengthen neonatal health systems through regular trainings for healthcare workers on Early Essential Newborn Care (EENC) and Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), and improve access to essential healthcare services for pregnant mothers and their babies.
“We are delighted to witness the partnership of Kimberly-Clark and UNICEF to support programs committed to improve maternal and neonatal healthcare in Northern and Central Highlands of Viet Nam through capacity building for healthcare workers at national, provincial and commune levels. This is an important contribution to the Ministry to achieve our goals towards reducing infant and child mortality. On behalf of the Ministry of Health, I would like to thank Kimberly-Clark and UNICEF for supporting the Health Sector, particularly in the areas of maternal and child health. You are contributing significantly to the care, protection and improvement of people’s health,” said Nguyen Truong Son, Vice Minister of the Vietnam Ministry of Health.
Kimberly-Clark and UNICEF estimate the partnership will directly benefit 265,000 newborn lives over the next 3 years and will indirectly help more than a million newborns annually.
“Partnerships with the business community energize the important work of maternal and child health and expedite progress. That’s why we’re so pleased to launch with Kimberly-Clark, and its Huggies brand, a partnership with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF that will further improve the health and well-being of Vietnamese mothers and their children, especially the most disadvantaged,” said Rana Flowers, Representative, UNICEF Vietnam.
Huggies® No Baby Unhugged is one of the largest global social impact programs established by Kimberly-Clark. Founded in 2010, the program aims to help the most vulnerable babies in society get the hugs and care they need. This care comes in many forms including hospital partnerships that support volunteer hugging programs, partnerships with NGOs who are focused on improving newborn and maternal health care, and diaper and wipe donations.
Over the past five years, nearly 3 million babies in Canada, the United States, Israel, Australia, Vietnam, China, and India have benefited from the program. In August, Kimberly-Clark and UNICEF announced an extensive partnership in Latin America to bring Huggies “No Baby Unhugged” to sixteen countries in the region.