Locally-owned fresh milk maker TH Group is fueling the government’s efforts to build a student-oriented fresh milk programme.
According to the group’s study on the usage of its kid-oriented fresh milk by over 3,600 pupils in the central province of Nghe An during September 2013-June 2014, light-weight and stunting malnutrition reduced 3 and 1.5 per cent, respectively, far higher than Vietnam’s average reduction figures of 0.9 and 0.8 per cent, respectively, during 2012-2013.
Also under the study conducted by Vietnam Nutrition Institute and released in early this month, deficiency of some major nutritious substances like Vitamin A, iron and zinc has also significantly improved.
The group’s milk formula is designed by the institute with advice from French top nutrition experts.
Minister of Health (MoH) Nguyen Thi Kim Tien and Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Vinh Hien said this study’s results were being used as the basis for a national-level student-oriented fresh milk programme aimed to improve Vietnamese people’s mental and physical well-being. The programme will be enacted by the government in the very near future.
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said at last week’s launch of a TH-backed Vietnam programme to improve Vietnamese kids’ mental and physical well-being that Vietnam could only produce a high-quality workforce if it improved the quality of education.
According to the institute, 50 per cent of Vietnam’s 7.6 million children suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency. The total number of Vietnamese children under five suffering from malnutrition is over 3.2 million. The rate of anaemic children stood at 11.8 per cent, and 51.9 per cent suffer from zinc deficiency.
Vietnamese male and female young people’s average height is 163.7 and 153 centimetres, respectively, 13.1 and 10.7cm respectively lower than the World Health Organization standards.
“Micronutrient deficiencies are still public health issues among young children in Vietnam and can lead to poor health and untimely deaths. Vitamin-mineral deficiencies impact health, survival and economic development. Poor micronutrient status matters in the long term,” said Haeri Roh-Schmidt, director of Business Development (Nutritionals) of Swiss-based DSM Nutritional Products. under DSM, a world leader in nutritional fortification.
DSM has provided its consultancy for TH to make new fresh sterilised fresh milk products, known as TH true MILK - formula TOPKID, used for kids of one-six years old.
Tien said student-oriented fresh milk programmes had been successfully conducted in many nations. For example, after five years of implementing this programme, Chinese children increased 2cm in height. Thai children’s average height also rose 5cm additionally after a similar programme was applied to 6-14 year-old children.
“We must pay greater attention to improving children’s mental and physical conditions. The government calls upon all enterprises, students, and parents to join the government’s student-oriented fresh milk programme,” Dam stressed.
“Besides supporting milk makers financially, the government should enact standards for student-oriented fresh milk so that producers can follow TH’s lead in ensuring the highest quality milk products,” said Thai Huong, chairwoman of TH, the first firm to be granted the MoH’s certification on student-oriented fresh milk.