Young Health Programme launches Phase 2 in Vietnam (2023-2025)

The Ministry of Education and Training, in partnership with AstraZeneca and Plan International Vietnam, is pleased to announce the official launch of Phase 2 of the Young Health Programme (YHP) Vietnam. This global initiative of AstraZeneca emphasises youth well-being and the prevention of major NCDs like cancer, diabetes, heart, and respiratory diseases. This phase will run from June 2023 to December 2025.

Distinguished attendees at the launch included Director of Physical Education Department, Ministry of Education and Training, Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Thanh De; Chairman and General Director of AstraZeneca Vietnam, Mr. Nitin Kapoor; and Finance Director of Plan International Vietnam, Madame Quach Thuc Anh. Other representatives were from the Ministry of Health, the National Youth Centre, affiliated agencies, and educational institutions that are part of the Programme.

Recent World Health Organization (WHO) data reveals that NCDs caused 77% of all deaths in Vietnam in 2018[1], highlighting the pressing need for initiatives like YHP. Vietnam’s youth, constituting 21%[2] of its 98 million population[3], are particularly vulnerable, with behaviours often set during school years leading to NCD risks later in life.

The WHO estimated the probability of premature death (between 30 and 70 years) from NCDs in 2018 at 17% (23% men, 11% women)[4] in Vietnam, the same as the 17% estimated in 2014[5]. Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the most prevalent causes of NCD-related death, accounting for 31% and 19% respectively.[6]

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Thanh De, Director of Physical Education Department, Ministry of Education and Training said the World Health Organization had identified behaviors and lifestyles formed by student at school ages related to the increase of NCDs. In order to improve the prevention of NCDs and carry out the School Health Program for the period of 2021-2025, the Ministry of Education and Training coordinated with Plan International Vietnam to implement the Young Health Programme for the period 2023 – 2025 with non-refundable aid by AstraZeneca. Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Thanh De also expressed high appreciation to international partners such as AstraZeneca and Plan International Vietnam for their sponsorship and partnership in the Programme.

Mr. Nitin Kapoor, Chairman and General Director of AstraZeneca Vietnam, shared: “As a leading biopharmaceutical company in the world with an unwavering and long-term commitment to sustainable development, we believe that investing in the health of young people today is an investment in the sustainable future of society as a whole. We are proud of the tangible and positive impacts of the Young Health Programme in Vietnam during Phase One (2019-2022) and are excited to continue working with our partners in the upcoming phase.”

“It is critical that we pay attention to young people during this important period of their growth and development,” said Migena Shulla, Country Director, Plan International Vietnam. “In youth, decisions are made, habits are formed, and paths chosen that can have life-long repercussions and impact across generations. Evidence shows that unhealthy behaviour patterns related to NCDs – including unhealthy diets, tobacco use and smoke exposure, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol – are often initiated during childhood and adolescence. In fact, it is estimated that over half of all NCD deaths are associated with behaviours that began or were reinforced during adolescence.[7] To accelerate the response to NCDs worldwide, greater attention and investment is needed in the early years of life, particularly during adolescence.[8]

The results of the Global Survey on Children Health Behaviours conducted in 2019 in Vietnam by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Training in collaboration with the World Health Organization provided evidence of behaviours and indicators affecting the health of schoolchildren.

According to the report, comparing the survey results between 2013 and 2019:

  • The percentage of children eating fast food increased.
  • The proportion of children using electronic cigarettes rose.
  • The proportion of children who were overweight grew.
  • The proportion of underweight children decreased by 50%, but the number of overweight children increased from 5.8% to 10.6% in 2019.
  • For the first time, the survey included an indicator for children accessing and using e-cigarettes. Nationwide, this rate is 2.6%, but jumps to 7.9% in major cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi.

This underscores the vital importance of interventions to prevent risky behaviours.

The Young Health Programme Vietnam – Phase 2 is a three-year programme that aims to contribute to the improved health and wellbeing of young people between 10-24 years of age. Along with public awareness campaigns, school activities are to be carried out in Cau Giay, Long Bien, Dong Anh and Hai Ba Trung District of Hanoi. Specifically, YHP aims to ensure that young people have increased knowledge about risk behaviours and NCD prevention, which gives them greater capacity to make informed decisions about their health, in the context of improved health services, an enabling support system and policy environment.

AstraZeneca, Plan International Vietnam will work closely with the Department of Physical Education, Ministry of Education and Training, and other stakeholders to deliver the Programme.

Through the Young Health Programme Vietnam, we hope to reach about 49,300 youth directly with health information and NCDs prevention programming in 29 project schools, universities in this second phase. Indirectly, we expect to reach an additional 300,000 beneficiaries in the wider community through online awareness raising activities.

Globally, the AstraZeneca Young Health Programme has reached more than 10 million youth in more than 40 countries across 5 continents since it was launched in 2010. In May 2019, the YHP earned AstraZeneca the ‘Business of the Year’ title at the Business Charity Awards, recognizing the company’s outstanding contribution to good causes. AstraZeneca was acknowledged for directly investing in building an evidence base, establishing the foundation for a sustainable solution to a global challenge.

In its three years of implementation (2019-2022), despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, YHP Vietnam Phase 1 successfully achieved all its objectives, delivering great impact to its target beneficiaries. Some highlights from the many meaningful outcomes include: 81% of young people showed increase in knowledge related to NCD risk factors[9], 79% increase in young people’s awareness of 3 or more NCDs[10], and the proportion of young people with positive behaviours related to a healthy diet increased by 63%[11].

For further information on Young Health Programme, please access the link

[1]  WHO: NCD Country Profile, 2018

[2]  UNFPA, State of the World Population 2023

[3]  UNFPA, State of the World Population 2023

[4]  WHO: NCD Country Profile, 2018

[5]  WHO: NCD Country Profile, 2014

[6]  WHO: NCD Country Profile, 2018

[7] World Health Organization. (2011). Global Status Report on non-communicable diseases 2010. Geneva

[8] Sustaining Human Development: leveraging early life opportunities to prevent and control NCDs – The NCD Alliance, DOHaD, PMNCH, NCD Child, 2015

[9] The impact of the Young Health Programme, Evaluation findings in five countries (2020-2022), 2022

[10] The Young Health Programme Vietnam Evaluation, 2022

[11] The impact of the Young Health Programme, Evaluation findings in five countries (2020-2022), 2022


Press release distributed by EloQ Communications.