Vietnam mulls recognizing sex reassignment

Pham Le Quynh Tram (left), a transgender teacher, is pictured during one of her classes. Photo:

The Vietnamese Ministry of Health has proposed either not acknowledging gender reassignment, as it has always been the case before, or permitting the practice on a selective basis. Nguyen Huy Quang, head of the Legislation Department under the Ministry of Health, said on Thursday that the ministry is currently giving its opinions on the draft of the revised Civil Code. The ministry has suggested two ways to deal with the gender reassignment issue. One is not acknowledging gender reassignment as before, while the other alternative is allowing the procedure but on a selective basis. Pham Le Quynh Tram, a transgender teacher who lives in Ho Chi Minh City, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper her elation at the Ministry of Health’s growing interest in the transgender community by putting forward such proposals. Tram, who was born as a male under the name Pham Van Hiep, revealed the mental agony she was through to become a real, fulfilled woman as she is now. "All local … [Read more...]

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String of activities mark 85th anniversary of Vietnam Communist Party A series of activities have been held across the country in the presence of Party and State senior leaders to celebrate the 85th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) (February 3, 1930-2015). On February 1, Politburo member and Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnam National Assembly, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan led a delegation of Party Central Committee members to visit former President Nguyen Minh Triet; former Prime Minister Phan Van Khai; and Senior lieutenant General and Hero of the People's Armed Forces Phan Trung Kien, who are living in Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong province. Politburo member Ngan hoped that the former leaders will continue to make further contributions to the nation. On the same day, authorities of Ho Chi Minh City presented and bestowed the State title of 'Heroic Vietnamese Mother' to 288 women in Ho Chi Minh City. Politburo member and Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City's Party … [Read more...]

Cheap Chinese products sell for big money under faux European labels in Vietnam


Counterfeit kitchenware items being sold by Romal Vietnam at a store in Bac Ninh Province. Photo: Manh Quan Teams of consumer affairs inspectors have launched a nationwide crackdown after discovering that a company in Hanoi had been engaged in passing off counterfeit Chinese appliances as European. The products included gas ranges, electric stovetops, ovens and blow dryers. Romal Vietnam distributed the goods via online portals, local supermarkets and shopping centers in many cities and provinces, according to the National Steering Committee for Combating Smuggling, Commercial Fraud and Counterfeit Goods (aka Committee 389). The Committee has instructed relevant agencies to inspect Romal Vietnam’s branch outlets and its products nationwide. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Security has summoned the company's director, Nguyen Thi Ninh, and her husband Nguyen Huy Tho for questioning. On January 22, relevant agencies raided a Romal Vietnam retail shop in Hanoi and seized … [Read more...]

More victims of doctor dumping client’s body hospitalized

Five more patients of Dr. Nguyen Manh Tuong, who had thrown the body of a woman who died following a cosmetic surgery at his own beauty salon into a river, have been given checkups and hospitalized. According to Dr. Nguyen Huy Tho, former head of Hospital 108's Plastic Surgery Department, two of them had their nose bridge raised and thigh fat taken out at Tuong's Cat Tuong salon and recently showed complications. Tho added that he and his staff are willing to provide checkups and counseling to any of Tuong's patients. Despite the tremendous efforts by professional divers to search for the body of 37-year-old Le Thi Thanh Huyen, which was thrown into the Hong (Red) river by Tuong and his security guard, it remained nowhere to be found. Several who claimed to be psychics also offered help with the search but too failed to locate Huyen's body. The police and the victim's family will expand the … [Read more...]

Inspectors go after wierd Chinese ‘massage’ bras


Market managers from across Vietnam are on the hunt for Chinese bras. A bra pad advertized as "silicone with balls" with "massage effects" has been found in low-quality Chinese bras sold across Vietnam They are inspecting bras at retailers across the country after several women complained that a popular type of Chinese-made bra -- the advertising of which claims that special massage technology will enhance breast shape and size -- made them itchy and irritated their skin to the point of rash. The bras have been found in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and many central region provinces. Most cost between VND55,000-90,000 (US$2.64-4.32) but some in Ho Chi Minh City cost VND500,000. They contain small plastic bags of an oily solution advertised as silicone, which has plastic balls told to give a massage effect that boost breast size without plastic surgery. Le Phuoc from Ho Chi Minh City told Tuoi Tre he had checked the solution in the bra he bought for his wife and it felt itchy. A … [Read more...]


Canadian businesses eye Thai Nguyen market More than 100 Canadian and foreign businesses in Canada attended at a seminar in Toronto on March 22 to seek and expand investment cooperation in Vietnam's northern province of Thai Nguyen. At the opening ceremony, Secretary of the Thai Nguyen Provincial Party Committee Pham Xuan Duong emphasized that the event offered an opportunity for Thai Nguyen and Canadian businesses to introduce their policies and potential for investment cooperation. Margaret Vokes, South Asia Area Director at the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, conveyed best regards from Minister Brad Duguid, stressing that the event provided participants with updated information and opened up opportunities for doing business and boosting relations for mutual benefit. Duong Ngoc Long, chairman of the provincial People's Committee, answered businesses' questions related to the province's policies, formalities and the advantages of investment. … [Read more...]

Real estate brokerages switch to selling … noodles


After mushrooming during the prime time of the real estate sector in 2007, many property brokerages in Ho Chi Minh City have since collapsed along with the sluggish market, and have ended up switching to selling everything but realty projects. At the entrance of the Ng. Phi Hung real estate trading floor on Nguyen Thi Thap Street, District 7, what is noticeable these days is not the number of parked motorbikes as in mid-2009, when the floor was opened, but a stand to sell pho (rice noodle), and a couples of tables and chairs. … [Read more...]

Real estate brokerages switch to selling … pho


After mushrooming during the prime time of the real estate sector in 2007, many property brokerages in Ho Chi Minh City have since collapsed along with the sluggish market, and have ended up switching to selling everything but realty projects. At the entrance of the Ng. Phi Hung real estate trading floor on Nguyen Thi Tap Street, District 7, what is noticeable these days is not the number of parked motorbikes as in mid-2009, when the floor was opened, but a stand to sell pho (rice noodle), and a couples of tables and chairs. At around 9am every day, the former property brokers arrive and begin their jobs as food vendors. "There are only five of us left," said Tran Dinh C., a sales executive of the trading floor. "We have to sell pho to earn a little more profit amid this slumping market." In its early days, the Ng. Phi Hung real estate trading floor set an ambitious target of becoming the country's top contractor, housing trader, and brokerage. "But now that we have to wait … [Read more...]

Vietnamese parents taking children to Singapore for vaccination amid Quinvaxem fears


Many Vietnamese parents are now bringing their children to Singapore for costly vaccinations for fear of unsafe free-of-charge Quinvaxem vaccine along with a shortage in supply of the substitute vaccine, which is expensive but believed to be safer. The Korean-made Quinvaxem vaccine is suspected to have caused the deaths of many children in Vietnam over recent years. Overseas vaccination tours, which have recently been established and organized by a Vietnamese family living in Singapore, is gaining popularity among Vietnamese families, according to Sai Gon Tiep Thi newspaper. A four-day three-night tour to Singapore costs a total of VND16 million (US$713) and covers all expenses, including transportation, accommodation, translated consultation, diagnosis and an injection. Despite the high price, more and more Vietnamese parents are willing to spend big to ensure the safety of their children, preferring to boycott the controversial but commonly used and free-of-charge Quinvaxem … [Read more...]

Vietnam among 15 nations with highest smoker number in world


With about 40,000 people dying of smoking-caused diseases per annum, Vietnam is one of the 15 countries with the highest number of smokers in the world, a health official has announced, citing the World Health Organization (WHO) Office in Vietnam. Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, director of the Fund for Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harms, which is under the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, released the figures at a conference on the enforcement of the Law on Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harms held in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on Thursday. That means about 100 Vietnamese die every day of illnesses resulting from smoking, Dr. Khue said. The doctor, who is also head of the ministry’s Department for Medical Examination and Treatment Management, told the conference that around 15.3 million adults in Vietnam are smokers. Smokers make up 47.4 percent of men and 1.4 percent of women in Vietnam, the official said, adding that for every two men, there is one smoker. In … [Read more...]

Facebook page of govn’t portal, undergoing trial, conveys press information to more Vietnamese audience

The information that the Vietnamese government has officially launched a Facebook page is not accurate, Vi Quang Dao, general director of the government's website, told

The test run of the new Facebook page of the government portal aims at providing the existing press information, which is also available on the portal,, to a wider range of Vietnamese audience, said the head of the government's website. Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper. For a long time, the electronic portal of the government has sent emails containing information about the directives and administration of the government, the Prime Minister, and other Deputy Prime Ministers, to the press agencies and journalists specialized in monitoring the activities of the government and the Government Office, said Dao. However, the press agencies have often used only a fraction of press information according to their needs, while other information, which may be useful to other people, has been omitted or not fully published, he said. Therefore, the government electronic portal has begun the trial to bring all the available press information, which has already sent to press agencies, … [Read more...]

Vietnam ministry wants women to obtain ‘rape verification’ for abortion permission


Women have to prove they are rape victims to be allowed to obtain abortions for fetus of above 12 weeks, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health said in a draft Law on population that has ignited a wave of outrage among local residents and experts. The ministry wants to impose a ban on 12-week abortions, except for cases in which the unborn babies are result of rapes or incestuous affairs, or fetuses that can cause seriously impacts on the health of themselves and the pregnant women. A panel in charge of drafting the Law on population is still collecting feedback from the public and experts to complete it, but such a controversial regulation has displeased the public. "So what could be used as evidence for being raped?" Nguyen Thi Van, a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reader, questioned when asked on the phone. Van came up with many questions, as to "how the victim can prove she was raped," or "what agencies will verify the rape." "What if the fetus will be much older than 12 weeks … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s first tobacco rehabilitation switchboard opens

The Program for Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harms, under the Vietnamese Ministry of Health yesterday opened a room for consultation and a switchboard to help rehabilitate addicts on tobacco. They are the first of its kinds in the country. The switchboard with the free number 18006606 works from 8 am to 10 pm in all days a week even Saturday and Sunday, except for holidays. The switchboard places in the Treatment and Respiratory Center in the premise of Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi. A representative of the Ministry said that the opening of the switchboard is considered as an important step to help addicts on tobacco to get rid of smoking. According to the latest information in the world, medical workers must contact most tobacco addicts as at least 70 percent of smokers have annual check-up. Patients usually obey to doctors’ advice to get rid of smoking. Vietnam is one of 15 countries with the highest numbers of smokers in the world, and around 40,000 Vietnamese people die … [Read more...]

Vietnam proactive in preventing animal disease spread


Vietnam has been proactive in taking measures and implementing programmes to prevent the spread of animal diseases to humans, an international conference heard. The two-day conference on preventing the spread of animal diseases to humans was opened in Hanoi on August 25 by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health (MoH) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Indonesian Ministry of Health. The conference showed Vietnam’s active role as the pioneering country in effort to prevent the spread of animal diseases to humans, especially newly-emerged dangerous diseases under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). The conference aims to raise awareness and share experience in preventing the transmission of animal diseases to humans and priority activities between countries in the region and the world to achieve the goal of the five-year plan "the action package to prevent the spread of diseases from animals to humans." Vietnamese Deputy … [Read more...]

Vietnam pledges to prevent zoonotic diseases

At the conference (Credit:

NDO - As one of the leading countries in the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), Vietnam pledges to take drastic action and be actively involved in prevention and combat against emerging epidemics, especially zoonotic diseases, as stipulated in the GHSA. Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thang Long made the statement at an international conference on zoonotic disease prevention and control, co-organised by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Indonesian Ministry of Health in Hanoi on August 25. The conference looks towards enhancing collaboration among nations in battling diseases and devising action plans with specific goals in each country to promote the effective minimisation and prevention of zoonotic diseases. During the two-day event, participants will focus on sharing experience and challenges in zoonotic disease prevention and control, and discussing opportunities for regional and global co-operation in dealing with … [Read more...]

Vietnam may license ‘female Viagra’: health ministry

Addyi, a new U.S.-made drug that treats low sexual desire in women, may be licensed for circulation in Vietnam if it successfully passes clinical tests, local health authorities have said. A representative of the Vietnamese Ministry of Health’s Pharmaceutical Management Department made the statement on Wednesday when talking about the drug, a libido pill for women dubbed "female Viagra," which won approval from the U.S.’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday. Pursuant to provisions of the Law on Pharmacy, clinical tests are required for any medicine that has yet to pass five years of circulation from the date of production in the country where it was made, the representative said. If such tests show that Addyi meets requirements on quality and treatment effects, its producer can apply for registration of circulation of the drug in Vietnam, the official added. Cindy Whitehead, the managing director of Sprout Pharmaceuticals, a U.S.-based private company that … [Read more...]

Vietnam lifts MERS health declaration for visitors from RoK


Visitors from South Korea entering Vietnam from August 15, 2015 onward will no longer be required to fill out MERS-CoV health declarations, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health said in a decision issued on Wednesday. MERS-CoV is the abbreviation for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, which has effected 1,400 people in the world, including South Korea, and killed at least 500 of them since it first appeared in April 2012 in Saudi Arabia, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The decision will take effect at midnight on Saturday (August 15), the ministry said. This move was made after the WHO said that as of August 10, 2015, South Korea had not reported any new MERS-CoV patients for 36 consecutive days. On July 28, Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn announced that the epidemic had ended in the country, and many other nations later lifted their recommendation that limited their citizens from traveling to South Korea. MERS-CoV had affected 186 people in … [Read more...]

Executive of Vietnam drug firm charged with smuggling


Police from the Ministry of Public Security have charged a senior official at VN Pharma, a pharmaceutical joint stock company in Vietnam, and its chief accountant with smuggling as part of their investigation into a case uncovered last year. Ngo Anh Quoc, 31, deputy general director of VN Pharma, has been let out on bail, while chief accountant Le Thi Vu Phuong, 33, has been detained pending investigation, police said on Monday. On September 19, 2014, police detained the chairman and general director of VN Pharma, Nguyen Minh Hung, 36, for smuggling and counterfeiting bidding documents. Police officers later apprehended Nguyen Tri Nhat, 40, another deputy general director of VN Pharma; Phan Cam Loan, 42, deputy head of the Ho Chi Minh City-headquartered firm’s import-export department; and Vo Manh Cuong, 36, who claimed to be a representative of a foreign drug firm in Ho Chi Minh City, on the same charges. As such, a total of six people have so far faced prosecution in … [Read more...]

Vietnamese woman returning from abroad with fever tests negative for MERS


A young Vietnamese woman suspected of developing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) has tested negative for the deadly coronavirus after she returned from abroad with a high fever, local health authorities confirmed on Wednesday. >> Ho Chi Minh City assigns three hospitals to treat possible MERS patients The woman, L.N.B.P., 23, an overseas Vietnamese student in Houston, Texas, who had a fever of 40.8 degrees Celsius when she returned to Vietnam on June 7 from the U.S., with a transit period of 16 hours in MERS-stricken South Korea. P., a native of the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, also suffered a cold shiver, headache and difficult urination but she did not feel hard to breathe and cough upon returning that day. She was taken to Can Tho City General Hospital for treatment and doctors diagnosed her with acute respiratory inflammation suspected to be caused by MERS. Doctors then sent P.’s sample to the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute for testing and on … [Read more...]