Shaping the Health Policy Agenda: The Case of Safe Motherhood Policy in Vietnam

Document Type : Original Article


1 Hanoi School of Public Health, Hà Nội, Vietnam

2 Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

3 Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Maternal health remains a central policy concern in Vietnam. With a commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 target of maternal mortality rate (MMR) of 70/100 000 by 2015, the Ministry of Health (MoH) issued the National Plan for Safe Motherhood (NPSM) 2003-2010. In 2008, reproductive health, including safe motherhood (SM) became a national health target program with annual government funding.
A case study of how SM emerged as a political priority in Vietnam over the period 2001-2008, drawing on Kingdon’s theory of agenda-setting was conducted. A mixed method was adopted for this study of the NPSM.
Three related streams contributed to SM priority in Vietnam: (1) the problem of high MMR was officially recognized from high-quality research, (2) the strong roles of policy champion from MoH in advocating for the needs to reducing MMR as well as support from government and donors, and (3) the national and international events, providing favorable context for this issue to emerge on policy agenda.
This paper draws on the theory of agenda-setting to analyze the Vietnam experience and to develop guidance for SM a political priority in other high maternal mortality communities.


Commentaries Published on this Paper

  • The Health Policy Process in Vietnam: Going Beyond Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Theory; Comment on “Shaping the Health Policy Agenda: The Case of Safe Motherhood Policy in Vietnam”

          Abstract | PDF

  • Political Impetus: Towards a Successful Agenda-Setting for Inclusive Health Policies in Low- and Middle-Income Countries; Comment on “Shaping the Health Policy Agenda: The Case of Safe Motherhood Policy in Vietnam”

          Abstract | PDF


Main Subjects

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