Social Headlines December 12

Police rewarded after arresting drug trafficking ring leader

Police from Hai Phong City were rewarded yesterday after nabbing a drug trafficking ring leader and his accomplice last Thursday, seizing 500 grams of methamphetamine and nearly 200 ecstasy pills.

According to police, Van Hieu Dung, 33, the ring leader, from the city’s Ngo Quyen District, was a gambler living in a rented house after mortgaging his own property.

However, Dung disguised himself as a worker at Hoang Dieu Port where he and an accomplice, Tran Thi Thu Huong, were arrested while picking up the methamphetamine and ecstasy pills.

Following Dung’s directions, money was always deposited via banks during each drug transaction and places where Dung delivered drug for his clients were constantly changed, according to officials.

More Vietnamese nurses, orderlies to work in Japan

An additional 180 Vietnamese nurses and orderlies will be able to work in Japan in 2015, according to officials at the Department of Overseas Labour.

Before going to Japan, nursing candidates will take a free-of-charge Japanese language course for 12 months, which began yesterday in the northern province of Hung Yen yesterday.

After the course, they must take a Japanese language examination, and those who pass will be sent to work in Japan in 3 to 4 years. A nurse will be paid some 130,000-140,000 yen per month, while salaries paid for orderlies range between 140,000-150,000 yen per month.

Under the Viet Nam-Japan co-operation agreement, 150 candidates were recruited last year. Having passed their language classes, they will be assigned to hospitals and healthcare centres in Japan next February.

Lack of life skills risk for youth

An overall lack of life skills is among reasons attributed to risks for young people, such as stress, depression and even suicide, said Nguyen Thi Cam Tu, Headmaster of Ngo Tat To Secondary School, Phu Nhuan District, HCM City.

Children who are never taught how to deal with the difficulties of life, such as parental divorce, family financial problems or disappointing study results are more easily susceptible to these risks. If children are not taught about life value, they are more prone to belligerence, violence, criminal activity and even suicide, according to Tu.

Nguyen Thanh Nhan, a consultant from the Asia-Pacific Young Talent Training Centre, said students currently lack life skills, particularly those who live in big cities.

He added that, due to limited awareness of life and how to deal with practical problems, many students in secondary and high schools have the ability to develop passion for something they like, and that parents and teachers need to find ways to cultivate their interests.

Many in the education field have said that in a large number of cases, parents are too focused on earning money and do not focus on the other interests of their children, adversely affecting the young person’s ability to socially integrate. Meanwhile, parents often blame this problem only on schools.

Expert have said that many young people use video games as a way to relieve pressure from studies, causing the threat of “addiction”.

MA Nguyen Thanh Mai, Headmaster of Viet My Secondary School, said extracurricular activities would help to improve the development of life skills in students, particularly the way they have to take care of themselves. Participating in these activities, students would become more confident and more actively participate in society, she added.

More field trips would also provide them with and increased knowledge of geography, history and biology.

Mr. Nhan said the Ministry of Education and Training should provide training courses for teachers on extracurricular activities and integrate life skill programmes into the education system.

HCM City prepares to open new airport road

A 20-km section of an expressway being built to link HCM City with a proposed international airport in the neighbouring province of Dong Nai will open to traffic later this month, the builder has said.

A 20-km section of an expressway being built to link HCM City with a proposed international airport in the neighbouring province of Dong Nai will open to traffic later this month, the builder has said.

Le Manh Hung, head of the HCM City – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Project, said a section linking the Eastern Ring Road (or the Second Ring Road) in HCM City’s District 9 with National Highway 51 in Dong Nai would be usable from December 28.

The expressway will be 55 km long in all, connecting HCM City with Long Thanh International Airport, and cost around VND18 trillion (about US$1.2 billion).

It is expected to ease congestion on National Highway 1A.

Construction of the highway began in December 2009 and is scheduled for completion in early 2015.

It is being built by the Viet Nam Expressway Company while the construction work is being overseen by the HCM City – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Project.

The Ministry of Transport is also expected to start construction of the airport before 2015.

Task force to tackle domestic violence

A national task force to control and prevent domestic violence was launched in the capital city yesterday.

The task force will comprise experts from governmental agencies, the United Nations in Viet Nam and other relevant offices.

The establishment of the task force marked the end of a month-long campaign to end violence against women and girls that began mid-November.

The campaign was jointly organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the Women’s Union, the Farmers’ Union, the United Nations in Viet Nam and other development partners.

Several workshops, policy dialogues, exhibitions and parades were held in Ha Noi, HCM City, as well as Hai Duong and Ben Tre provinces. Several educational programmes on domestic violence prevention were carried out in different forms of the media including newspapers and television channels.

The task force will be headed by the Family Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism with technical support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Viet Nam.

Members of the task force will take part in meetings every six months from now until 2016 to share information and knowledge related to domestic violence prevention and control and formulate action plans.

They will also participate in training courses that will help them disseminate knowledge and skills to local populations towards reducing and ending the scourge of domestic violence in the country.

Three detained in wine poisoning case

Quang Ninh police yesterday detained three employees from the Ha Noi 29 Import Export JSC wine-making company after six people died and 15 more were hospitalised throughout the province last week after drinking alcohol made from sticky rice reportedly produced by the company.

Director Nguyen Duy Vuong and two staff members in charge of production were detained and transferred to Quang Ninh for further investigations into food safety and hygiene violations.

Samples tested by local authorities showed that the methanol content in the alcohol exceeded the permitted limit by 2,000 times. Relevant agencies have already withdrawn 6,400 bottles of the alcohol in Quang Ninh and 4,000 bottles in Ha Noi.

Dong Nai Hospital to launch air ambulance

The Government has given permission for Dong Nai Hospital to provide air ambulance helicopter service beginning in 2015, according to hospital director Pham Huy Anh Vu.

Ambulance helicopters would be provided to transport emergency cases to the hospital or other local and international medical centers, depending upon patient requirements.

A helicopter landing pad will be built on the hospital rooftop. The hospital also signed contracts with service providers and civil airports nationwide.

Dong Nai Hospital, located in the southern province of the same name, is the nation’s first regional medical complex, having a total investment of VND3.2 trillion (US$153.8 million), and is due to open in 2015.

New plan targets antibiotics abuse

Alarmed by the rampant abuse of antibiotics and resultant emergence of drug resistant bacteria, the Ministry of Health has announced an action plan to drastically curb the practice from now until 2020.

The plan will establish more stringent regulations on antibiotic use, increase citizens’ awareness of drug resistant bacteria strains and the dangers involved, and set up a national-level supervisory framework to monitor and respond to the problem

A survey commissioned by the Health Ministry in 2011, covering nearly 3,000 pharmacies in northern urban and rural areas, showed that 88 per cent of antibiotics were dispensed without prescription in urban areas, and this rose even further to 91 per cent in rural areas.

The widespread use of antibiotics without prescription, as well as improper use for various reasons including lack of access to proper healthcare, has seen the appearance of drug-resistant bacteria strains that clinics and hospitals are struggling to treat, says deputy director of MoH’s Medical Services Administration Cao Hung Thai.

Furthermore, experts with MoH have said that many kinds of antibiotics are being prescribed needlessly.

The drug-resistant strain of the klebsiella spp bacteria, for instance, has been increasingly seen over the last decade. Nearly 20 per cent of tuberculosis patients in the country are carrying drug-resistant strains that experts have said could pose a global health threat.

“It is not easy to treat multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis patients, treatment costs rise exponentially and in some cases, they cannot be cured,” said Thai.

Nguyen Mai Ha, a resident of Ha Noi’s Cau Giay District, said that she often bought antibiotics for herself instead of going to the doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

“The prescription is not necessary. I describe my disease symptoms to the druggist and then I get the proper medicines,” she said.

Whenever Ha develops a cough, she consumes antibiotics immediately, believing that it will cure the condition faster.

Under the action plan, many multi-media campaigns will be launched to increase awareness of drug resistance and its implications. It will be developed into a subject taught at medical schools and universities. Scientific conferences will be held on ways to tackle the growing healthcare threat.

The ministry will also work with international organisations to learn from the experiences of foreign countries in dealing with the problem.

Da Nang confiscates smuggled products

The central city’s market watch has destroyed nearly 5,000 fake and smuggled products, including brandy, motorbike accessories, watches, helmets, cosmetics and CDs, with a total cost of VND1.25 billion (US$60,000).

According to deputy head of the provincial market watch Nguyen Nho Hau, locally made false brandies were the majority of products confiscated, with nearly 3,000 bottles, along with 450 litres of unbottled alcohol.

He said the market watch had stopped 4,300 cases worth a total of VND12.7 billion ($600,000).

Stricter aviation security needed in changing times

Unpredictable regional and global stability meant vigilance was necessary to ensure aviation safety and security, said Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang.

He stressed that ensuring aviation security was an important part of national security and social order which required effective strategies and co-operation.

The police force would work closely with other agencies to fight crime, he said at a workshop yesterday on civil aviation safety and security.

Airports and technical aviation infrastructure were vulnerable areas for that criminals could take advantage of, he added.

The conference reviewed civil aviation safety and security over the past three years, and highlighted the shortcomings and difficulties facing authorities.

Quang urged the police to be vigilant, aware, responsible and professional to ensure aviation security and safety.

He applauded the police for their work to prevent a number of terrorism-related plots amid complicated global and regional developments

The police force had also stopped many cases of smuggling and trade fraud, he added.

A report from the Civil Aviation Authority showed that authorised agencies handled 74 cases of aviation security violations in the first six months of this year involving weapons, aggressive behaviour and fake documents.

During the period, aviation security forces worked with local police to tackle nearly 700 security violations in airports.

The Ministry of Public Security on Monday applauded police officers from the ministry’s Immigration Department for uncovering nine drug smuggling cases and seizing more than 3,100kg of heroin and 6kg of cocaine.

In the latest case, a Filipino man was caught smuggling 3.6kg of cocaine on a Singapore Airlines flight to HCM City’s Tan Son Nhat airport last Saturday.

Psychological counselling crucial for cancer patients

Nguyen Thi Thien An, 45, of Binh Tan District burst into tears when the doctor told her she had skin cancer.

“Why me? It is not fair,” she said. Initially, An felt frightened and was worried about her children and relatives.

Eventually, she became seriously depressed and lost five kilos.

She discovered that the cancer, which was diagnosed as Stage 1, could be treated and that she could survive a long time

Finally, she began to feel better and began to search for information about her cancer from many sources, including doctors, she said.

Tran Thi Uyen Phuong, a psychologist at Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University, said that An was typical of many cancer patients who often suffer depression after being diagnosed.

Many of them do not receive psychological counselling, she said.

Phuong, who regularly conducts research at HCM City Oncology Hospital, said that her research found that counselling was essential for patients’ recovery.

In another study conducted by doctors at the 103 Hospital of 264 patients with newly diagnosed cancer, 52 per cent became depressed and 6 per cent severely depressed.

The study found that manual labourers’ rate of depression was lower than the rate of more highly educated patients.

Patients with Stage III and IV cancers often fell into serious depression, the study found.

With advanced technologies increasing the effectiveness of cancer treatment, patients can live longer.

But in Viet Nam, cancers are often detected in the late stages, and the survival rate remains low, according to the doctors at the 103 Hospital.

Thus, more patients fall into depression, which affects their physical well-being and hastens the progression of the disease.

At a two-day conference held yesterday in HCM City, organised by the city’s Oncology Hospital, medical experts said it was critical that cancer patients receive psychological support.

Phuong also said that psychological counselling should be provided at oncology hospitals.

She suggested that these hospitals should work with medical universities to create internships or other conditions for students majoring in psychology.

The university’s psychology faculty should also have opportunities to conduct research at local hospitals, she added.

According to the World Health Organisation, cancers are the leading cause of deaths worldwide, accounting for 7.6 million deaths in 2008. Lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast cancer are the most common.

About 30 per cent of cancer deaths are due to high body-mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use and alcohol use, the WHO said.

In Viet Nam, many hospitals have seen an increase in the number of cancer patients each year.

Le Hoang Minh, head of the city’s Oncology Hospital, said that of all diseases, cancer was the leading cause of death in Viet Nam.

The incidence of cancers treated at the hospital had increased 10 per cent annually in recent years, he said.

The hospital has admitted more than 20,000 cancer patients for treatment this year.

Port for tourist yachts, cruisers to be built

The central city has approved a construction project for a tourism port for yachts and cruisers, with total investment of VND123 billion ($5.85 million) in the first stage.

As scheduled, the project investor, DHC joint stock company, will build a wharf and a station on the east bank of the Han River, along with entertainment centres along the river. The project aims to host cruisers and yachts conducting river tours.

Vietnam seeks to establish national statistics council

A workshop to discuss how to build a suitable national statistics council model in Vietnam was held in Hanoi on December 10 by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MoPI) in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme.

Speaking at the event, MoPI Deputy Minister Nguyen Van Trung said the policy of the national statistics council will be one of an instrument to help implement effectively the general statistics system between ministries, sectors and localities.

Almost 100 countries across the world have established their own national statistics councils to provide consulting services and promote national coordination in the field, he said, adding that the policy is a good consultation mechanism for Vietnam’s statistics sector to further integrate into the international statistics community.

Bakhodir Burkhanov, UNDP Vice Chief Representative in Vietnam, suggested Vietnam deploys the policy consistently to realise its national statistics goal.

He affirmed that the UNDP will assist Vietnam in building the national system as well as renovating its regulations in the field suitable for Vietnam’s conditions, thus ensuring quality and the effectiveness of its statistical activities in accordance with international rules.

After 10 years of implementing the Law on Statistics, apart from positive aspects, the law still shows limitations that need to be amended and supplemented to comply with the reality and existing legal environment in Vietnam.

Sharing its experience, a representative from India’s statistics agency gave recommendations, saying that Vietnam’s statistics council can be established to provide advice to the government on statistics-related issues, while being responsible for implementing statistical audits.

Representatives from Vietnam’s Statistics Office said experience shared at the workshop will be a useful reference for Vietnam to consider carefully the establishment of a Vietnamese National Statistics Council in the future.

Domestic violence prevention network launched

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on December 10 jointly launched a domestic violence prevention and control network.

The network is a national coordination mechanism for domestic violence prevention and control, and is run by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism with the financial and technical support by UNFPA Vietnam.

Speaking at the launching workshop, UNFPA Vietnam Chief Representative Arthur Erken said Vietnam is one of the first countries in the region to build policies and laws that aim to enhance gender equality and stop domestic violence.

The country has joined the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other conventions regarding human rights.

In addition, a large number of programmes to prevent domestic violence have been executed by Government agencies as well as domestic and foreign organisations across Vietnam.

At the event, participants also reviewed a campaign in response to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (November 25).

Scores of events ranging from exhibitions, parades, policy dialogues, forums to competitions during the campaign drew the participation of some 10,000 people.

HCM City aims to eliminate AIDS pandemic by 2030

HCM City will raise HIV/AIDS prevention and control funding by 30% (about VND10 billion) in 2014.

The target was announced at a December 10 seminar of HCM City Committee for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control to review its activities over the 2011-2013 period.

Seminar participants acknowledged the financial difficulties the committee has faced during the last three years, exacerbated by the 40% fall in foreign funding.

HCM City’s efforts to refine its fight against HIV/AIDS include human resources training and providing expert consultancy to public healthcare services. The proportion of HIV patients with access to methadone and anti-retroviral treatments has increased.

The city is aiming to lower new HIV infections to 27%, and reduce the rate of mother-to-child transmission to less than 2%.

Confucius Institute to be established in Vietnam

The Hanoi University (HANU) and China’s Guangxi Normal University will cooperate in opening a Confucius Institute in Vietnam.

An agreement to this effect was signed between the two sides during the visit by a HANU delegation to attend the eighth Global Confucius Conference in China ‘s capital Beijing on December 7-8.

The institute, to be located at the HANU, is scheduled to start operation in December 2013.

On the sideline of the conference, the HANU delegation, led by its rector Nguyen Dinh Luan, met with Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters Xu Lin.

At the meeting, Xu said that the conference attracted the participation of more than 2,000 rectors and representatives of Confucius institutes from 120 countries and territories worldwide.

The Confucius Institute is designed to help foreigners learn about China through courses in language and culture, thus boosting the mutual understanding and friendship between China and other countries, she added.

As many as 440 Confucius institutes and 646 Confucius classes have been set up in 120 countries throughout the world.

Hanoi improves water supply in communes

Hanoi will pour 27.7 billion VND (1.3 million USD) into building connected water supply systems between communes and improving hygiene in medical stations and schools.

Of which, 24 billion VND (1.12 million USD) will be used to improve the water supply system in a number of communes of six districts including Thuong Tin, Phu Xuyen, Ung Hoa, My Duc, Me Linh and Thanh Oai between 2014 and 2015.

When completed, the project will enable around 260,000 Hanoians living in rural areas to use safe drinking water.

An amount of 2.2 billion VND (103,400 USD) will be invested in bettering hygiene conditions at communal healthcare stations and schools while 1.5 billion VND (70,500 USD) will be allocated to raise the effectiveness of water supply management.

The city strives to provide potable water for 90 percent of its population, with 60 percen t being able to access fresh water certificated by the Ministry of Health.-

Da Nang encourages community learning

People in the central city of Da Nang, especially farmers and poor labourers, will have more chances to participate in community-based learning centres in the coming time.

This is one of the key tasks set at the fifth congress of the Da Nang municipal Study Encouragement Association on December 10.

The centres, which are established and managed by the community, will help improve knowledge and awareness of local people through a range of activities such as education, training and consultation.

The city strives to expand the community-based learning model to all districts, wards, communes, residential areas, agencies and units by 2018, while the fondness for leaning will be popularised among all families.

During the 2008-2013 tenure, the association has encouraged over 1,100 students who dropped out of school to take part in supplementary and vocational training classes.

Over the past five years, community learning centres have drawn the participation of more than 140,900 people.-

Rights of disabled people in spotlight

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRDP) lies at the heart of an international workshop in Nha Trang city of the central province of Khanh Hoa.

The event was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of activities to respond to International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3), and mark Human Rights Day (December 10).

The convention supports the view that people with disabilities are full and equal members of society with human rights, stressed Director General of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of International Organisations Hoang Chi Trung.

Participants joined an in-depth discussion on a variety of issues related to the CRDP, as well as shared experience in enhancing cooperation between the Government and associations of people with disabilities to increase public awareness of disabled people’s human rights.

The December 10 workshop also created a good chance for local and overseas experts to promote their mutual understanding and improve coordination in the field.

Vietnam is home to around 6.7 million people with disabilities, accounting for eight percent of the nation’s population.

As the 118 th CRDP member, Vietnam has worked out many concrete measures to protect, promote and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by people with disabilities, encouraging them to integrate into the mainstream and make more contributions to society.

French professor thanked for supporting students in need

The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union’s chapter in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang held a meeting on December 9 to deliver acknowledgement to French professor Ivan Lavallée, who has donated money to scholarships for students in need.

The professor said that through the Nguyen Van Huong Scholarship for medical students and the Science and Technology Major Scholarship, he wants to help disadvantaged students reduce the difficulties obstructing their studies.

He voiced his pleasure that the funds have been used effectively and expressed his hope for the whole of society to assist more needy and studious students.

On behalf of the recipients, Nguyen Minh Tri, a disabled student at An Giang University, thanked Professor Lavallée and the Nguyen Van Huong Scholarship for giving him more strength in his study and promised to try his best to achieve good academic results.

The two funds have received donations from the professor over the past 15 years. They have presented hundreds of scholarships for students so far.

The medical scholarship bears the name of late Health Minister Nguyen Van Huong. Both fellowships were founded in 1998 by former Vice Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Foreign Affairs Nguyen Ngoc Tran.