Social Headlines January 10

Australia funds 11 small projects in Vietnam

The Australian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City on January 8 signed a Direct Aid Program (DAP) for 11 projects to be carried out in southern Vietnam.

DAP is a small scale aid program for individuals, communities, non-governmental organizations and others to promote development in Vietnam.

The 11 projects will be implemented in HCM City, Danang city, Can Tho City, and Quang Nam, Kien Giang, Soc Trang and Ben Tre provinces, spanning various areas, from community health care and education to infrastructure construction, with a total investment of AUD 130,000.

Consul-General John McAnulty expressed hope small scale projects will contribute to reducing poverty and bringing positive changes to beneficiary localities.

DAP is part of large scale projects using non-refundable aid worth estimated AUD159 million from the Australian Government for 2013-14.

Eight students to attend Global Young Scientists Summit

Eight young Vietnamese scientists will attend the second Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS) themed “Advancing Science, Creating Technologies for a Better World”, taking place in Singapore from January 19-21.

The conference, organised by the National Research Foundation (NRF), creates a forum for scientists under 35 to dialogue with Nobel laureates and former winners of the Turing Award, Millennium Technology Prize, and Fields Medal.

The organising board has invited a total of 375 doctorates and researchers from across the world, including 69 from Singaporean universities and institutes and 13 from ASEAN member countries.

Professor Low Teck Seng, NRF official and GYSS President, said he was very pleased to see more Vietnamese youth participating in international forums like GYSS.

This year’s summit will focus on the latest innovative scientific and technological advances and research and discuss solutions for global challenges.

There will also be seminars on basic science, such as chemistry, physics, mathematics, information technology and techniques.

A Singapore Challenge contest has been launched for young scientists to spur unique and creative initiatives for dealing with future development challenges.

The Singapore Challenge has received 35 proposals from scientists, including one from Vietnam.

There will also be an international scientific forum which has gathered the participation of 90 secondary school students and 31 educators from many countries around the world.

HCM City closes illegal parking lots

An illegal parking lot in Binh Thanh District encroaching on land around the Sai Gon River was forced to close yesterday.

The 3,100sq.m. lot has been used for three years by households in the district’s Precinct 26, causing disorder and noise for others living nearby.

The lot was closed following the city’s transportation department decision on inspections to detect and fine illegal vehicle parking lots and unregistered passenger coaches.

Inspections will continue till Tet.

More steel flyovers to take shape in HCM City

Ho Chi Minh City, the country's largest economic hub, plans to build more steel flyovers in 2014 to ease traffic congestion in the city.

Ho Chi Minh City, the country's largest economic hub, plans to build more steel flyovers in 2014 to ease traffic congestion in the city.

Bui Xuan Cuong, Vice Director of the municipal Department of Transport, said the department is liaising with relevant agencies on the construction of seven flyovers for pedestrians near parks, trading centres and bus stations.

The city will also build a flyover for motorbikes at Hai Ba Trung-Nam Ky Khoi Nghia intersection, and another one for both motorbikes and cars at Thanh Thai-Nguyen Tri Phuong- Le Dai Hanh-Lanh Binh Thang T-junction.

Six such bridges were built in 2013 to reduce the flow of traffic, especially at T-junctions and roundabouts.

According to the municipal Department of Transport, steel frame flyovers are easy to build and dismantle. Since they were put into operation, they have been effective in dealing with traffic congestion in hot spots.

Drug precusor detained at airport

Some two kilogrammes of Pseudoephedrine – a main ingredient used to make methamphetamine – has been detected by customs officials at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City.

The substance, worth about 2 billion VND (95,000 USD), was hidden in food packages being transported by a Vietnamese national who was checking in to go abroad.

This is a new trick of trafficking drugs via the airport, said the customs department on January 7.

The case has been transferred to the police for further investigation.

Tet preparations for poor people

Numerous local authorities nationwide are making every effort to help social beneficiaries and poor households better celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year Festival (Tet).

Central Nghe An province has visited and presented social beneficiaries and people who rendered great services to the country with gifts worth VND54 billion (US$2.53 million) on the occasion of the festive season.

The provincial Vietnam Fatherland Front called on businesses, organisations and individuals to give over 3,000 presents to poor households and disadvantaged children to help them enjoy a happy Tet. The locality also asked the Government to grant almost 4,200 tonnes of rice to 100,000 local households.

Meanwhile, the southern province of Dong Thap will spend over VND11 billion (US$517,000) to help families with contribution to the country’s revolution, underprivileged households and social beneficiaries have a sufficient Tet.

Dong Thap’s Children Sponsoring Fund has also received a financial assistance worth VND7 billion (about US$329,000) from donors in and outside the country to support over 7,000 local children.

Southern Dong Nai province also decided to provide about VND130 billion (roughly US$6.11 million) to more than 17,000 recipients, including people with contributions to the country’s revolution and families of martyrs beneficiaries and poor households, on the occasion of the upcoming Tet.

In addition, the provincial Vietnam Fatherland Front called on local businesses to donate over VND1.1 billion (about US$51,700) to present gifts to needy families in remote areas and ethnic people.

The Dong Nai Association for Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin will hand over 600 gifts worth VND500,000 (US$23.5) each to AO victims in the province.

Workshop examines healthcare treatment

Easing the nation's overworked hospitals remains a top priority for the health sector, according to health minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien who spoke at a workshop on improving medical examination and treatment processes in Ha Noi yesterday.

Easing the nation's overworked hospitals remains a top priority for the health sector, according to health minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien who spoke at a workshop on improving medical examination and treatment processes in Ha Noi yesterday.

The event, co-organised by the Ministry of Health and Nhan Dan (People) Newspaper, aimed to spotlight challenges preventing efficient examination and treatment in the nation’s hospital sector and provide recommendations for policymakers.

Tien said that a series of measures had been implemented to improve patient care in overcrowded hospitals, including expanding the scale of hospital services, reforming examination procedures and additional training for staff to enhance professional skills and promote ethical treatment.

In a bid to ease pressure on hospitals, the Government has decided to invest VND20 trillion (more than US$950 million) to build 5 new central hospitals from the beginning of 2014, according to Tien.

However, Tien added that improving service quality “would not be the responsibility of the health sector alone, but also the Party, Government and society.”

Nhan Dan Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Thuan Huu said that priority needed to be given to tackling shortcomings in examination and treatment procedures citing the current overcrowding crisis sweeping central hospitals.

Huu also said complicated administrative procedures, the overuse of imported drugs, complex testing and financial constraints were pressing problems facing the health sector.

Meanwhile, health ministry statistics show systems for examination and treatment have seen dramatic improvements across the central and local level with services provided to almost 132 million patients in 2012.

Viet Nam has seen remarkable achievements in health care with the introduction of the National Expanded Programme for Immunisation, a higher life expectancy of 73 years old and the reduction of mother and child fatality rates. Health insurance cards have also been provided free of charge to those living in poverty, 70 per cent of those in near-poor situations, farmers and salt workers due to the support of the Government.

Hastening construction of border patrol roads

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has urged the Defence Ministry to speed up the first phase of the project to build border patrol roads and finalise the plan for the second phase.

While chairing a January 8 conference to review the implementation of the project in the 2006-2010 period and launch the second phase, PM Dung said the plan must suit the economic situation of the country and help protect the forest.

The PM made it clear that the building of roads for patrolling shared border areas is part of the Party and State’s policy of enhancing the management and protection of the national sovereignty and border security, ensuring the social order in boundary areas and boosting the local economy and living conditions of local communities.

He outlined the need to build the roads, improve supervision and management, and formulate more efficient technical procedures.

He said that it is necessary for ministries, sectors and localities to coordinate closely in land clearance, road construction and use in order to optimise the investment efficiency.

It was reported at the conference despite difficulties created by complicated terrain and extreme weather in border areas, the patrol road construction is progressing well.

All routes have been designed carefully to suit the specific natural conditions and meet technical standards, said the report.

The roads, combining with normal roads and other border belts, make up a useful transport system to all border communes, contributing to fueling socio-economic development and reducing poverty for locals, most of whom are from ethnic minority groups, the report added.

Foot-and-mouth disease hits Lang Son, Phu Yen

Foot-and-mouth disease is spreading rapidly across Lang Son in the north and Phu Yen in the south, according to the Veterinary Department.

The disease has already affected more than 199 cattle including 105 buffalos and 94 cows, in Lang Son province’s Hong Thai and Gia Loc communes. A buffalo had to be culled.

In order to prevent the spread of the disease, the provincial veterinary agency has requested local authorities isolate outbreaks, implement vaccinations and restrict the trading and slaughtering of cattle in the region.

They were required to establish checkpoints to detect new outbreaks of the disease early.

Relevant agencies are helping local people disinfect breeding farms and are stepping up all measures to curb the spread of the disease.

Congress looks at child heart issues

Expectant mothers and families carrying foetuses with suspected or diagnosed congenital heart disease should receive proper counseling because they are often depressed, scared and anxious, said a Malaysia expert.

At the three-day international congress of congenital and structural heart disease, which started yesterday in HCM City, Haifa Abdul Latiff of National Heart Institute of Malaysia (Institut Jantung Negara) said that counseling should involve an explanation of the foetal echocardiogram examination alongside adequate and appropriate information regarding the cardiac diagnosis.

This should include information about in utero progression, management options, assessment of the short and long term outcomes of the session and genetic counseling, Latiff said.

In foetuses with multiple congenital anomalies or mothers with medical problems, counseling should also include consultations with an obstetrician, a neonatologist, a geneticist, and physicians, Latiff suggested.

The family should be allowed enough time to ask questions, to accept and to hold a family discussion especially when difficult decisions have to be made, Latiff added.

The congress has also highlighted advanced technologies in the intervention of congenital and structural heart disease including coronary artery fistulae.

Coronary artery fistulae- anomalous coronary arteries- are a rare occurrence that present at a rate of approximately 0.1-0.2 per cent, when the arteries that supply the heart with blood do not come from the usual location.

They were first indentified in 1841, but the disease continues to evade a clear pathology due to its low incidence.

They are usually detected by chance, according to MO Galal of King Fahad Medical City in Saudi Arabia.

In 75 per cent of cases, coronary artery fistulae are solitary but they can also occur in association with congenital heart disease. Small fistulae are rarely symptomatic and require no treatment.

Presentations and symptoms of patients with the disease include congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, angina, myocardial infection, dilation of the fistulae, bursting of fistula, thrombi and endocarditis.

Currently, there is not an exact statistic on fistulae in Viet Nam.

According to Associate Professor, Dr Vu Minh Phuc, chairman of the society, the Pediatrics Hospital No.1 admitted 17 cases of babies with fistulae in the period from 2010 to 2013.

Since 2010, the hospital has been using interventional catheterization for the treatment, without surgery.

Dr. Do Nguyen Tin, head of the hospital’s Interventional Cardiology Ward, said that the fistulae were very difficult to treat because the disease among children often occurs at unreachable positions in their body.

Tin hoped that he and his colleagues would be able to update and advance techniques for the fistulae via the congress.

Lucy Eun of Yonsei University Severance Cardiovascular Hospital in Korea’s Seoul said that most coronary artery fistulae were congenital, resulting from the persistence of embryonic channels between cardiac chambers and the developing coronary circulation.

Careful diagnosis is required for good management of coronary artery fistulae, Eun said.

Coronary fistulas are often diagnosed by coronary angiogram, however, with the advent of new technologies such as Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography, the course and communication of these fistulae can be delineated non-invasively and with greater accuracy, Eun added.

The congress, which was called Fistulae from A to Z, held by HCM City Peadiatrics Cardiology and Congenital Heart Disease Society, attracted more than 300 international renowned experts and specialists in Viet Nam and other countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Japan.

Da Nang prepares to charge parking fees at hospitals

The central city will begin charging for motorbike and bicycle parking at public hospitals from this year after a three-year fee exemption.

The central city will begin charging for motorbike and bicycle parking at public hospitals from this year after a three-year fee exemption.

The decision was made at the city’s People’s Council meeting last year in a move to shore up VND14 billion (US$666,000) in funds.

Following the decision, motorbike parking fees will be charged at VND2,000 and VND1,000 for a bicycle.

Vice chairman of the city’s People’s Committee Vo Duy Khuong said the decision would ease pressure on the city’s annual budget.

“The toll will help the city collect at least VND15 billion ($714,000) from parking fees per year. The amount will also help ease the cost of managing car parks at hospitals,” Khuong said at the meeting.

He said the money from parking fees would also be used to invest in hospitals and health centres around the city.

Vice director of the city’s Obstetrics and Pediatrics Hospital, Nguyen Thi Thanh Xuan said parking supply was frequently overwhelmed with more than 5,000 motorbikes and bicycles alone.

“We have to ask the city to pay for labourers and management for the car park. However, we face difficulties seeking funds for repairing or upgrading the park,” she said, adding many vehicles had to park outdoors.

“The exemption for motorbikes and bicycles parking at hospitals was good for poor patients and their relatives. However, the city’s budget paid a high price for this,” Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc said.

Ngoc also complained that people who were not patients or visitors were also parking their vehicles in the hospital.

Le Hong Hai, from Da Nang’s General Hospital, said the hospital was planning to build an underground car park, but it had not yet been approved.

Hoang Thi Khanh Hoi, a patient at Da Nang C hospital, said free parking aimed to help poor patients at public hospitals, but caused a headache for the city’s budget planners in the economic downturn.

According to Hoi, it was up to the city administration to assist poor patients with other manners.

Da Nang became the first city in Viet Nam to provide free parking at public hospitals in 2011.

Collective labour disputes under discussion

The number of collective labour disputes cases are mainly reported in small-and-medium-sized businesses, a recent conference heard in Ho Chi Minh City.

In 2013, 96 cases with the involvement of over 34,000 employees were recorded across the city, mostly from garment and embroidery businesses in the districts of Hoc Mon, Cu Chi and Binh Tan.

Meanwhile, no similar cases occurred in the fields of cosmetics and mechanics, according to the municipal Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

Local businesses’ failures to carry out policies ensuring the legitimate rights of labourers are behind these quarrels, participants were told.

The department said solutions to the issue merely focus on addressing the consequences, while preventive measures have yet to be taken proactively.

Statistics on the number of bonded labourers should be made to facilitate supporting measures, it suggested.
Metro line 3 deadline extended
Deputy PM Hoang Trung Hai has agreed to extend the deadline for closed loan book of the Ha Noi Metro Rail System (Line 3: Nhon-Ha Noi Station Section) by June 30, 2018.

The Deputy PM assigned the Municipal People’s Committee to closely work with the Management Board to implement the project on schedule and maximize the disbursement of ADB loans.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment was asked to work with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to review and abrogate the remaining capital in order to allocate capital for other ADB-funded projects in the coming period.

The Line 3 was groundbroken on September 25, 2010. This is the largest public transport project in Ha Noi.

The Project will establish an integrated sustainable public transport system in five districts of Ha Noi by constructing 12.5 kilometers of a dual track rail metro line from Nhon to Ha Noi railway station.

The Project will develop a new double track metro rail line in Ha Noi, which is one of four priority lines of a planned larger urban transportation system under the Ha Noi Urban Transport Master Plan (HUTMP).

As scheduled, the line will be put into operation in 2015 with four carriages with designed speed of 80 kilometers per hour.