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...]

Social News 3/2

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...]

Rhino horn buyers in Vietnam down 77 percent: report


The number of people who buy rhino horn in Vietnam has decreased 77 percent while there has been a 60 percent plummet in the number of people who think rhino horn has medical value, newswire Vietnamplus reported Wednesday. The figures were released yesterday during a working session in Pretoria between a Vietnamese delegation, the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, and relevant agencies to review their partnership in the conservation field. The Vietnamese government is willing to enhance cooperation with South Africa and other countries in biodiversity conservation, both bilaterally and multilaterally, Vietnamese Ambassador to the African nation Le Huy Hoang said. Vietnamplus cited statistics released at the session as showing that rhino horn buyers in Vietnam has declined 77 percent while there has been a 60 percent decrease in the number of people who think rhino horn has medicinal properties, one year after the "Stop Using Rhino Horn" communication campaign … [Read more...]

Breakfast @ Tuoi Tre News – May 14


Tuoi Tre News briefs you on some of the leading stories published today, May 14, in Vietnamese media. -- State President Truong Tan Sang on Wednesday arrived at Heydar Aliev International Airport in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku for an official visit to the European country from May 13 to 15. A welcome ceremony and the visit’s main activities will take place on Thursday. Society -- Until April 2015, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health had opened rehabilitation centers using methadone therapy in 43 provinces and cities for nearly 30,000 drug addicts, the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control under the health ministry said on Wednesday. -- Phan Thi Hai, deputy chief of the department on smoking and health under the Ministry of Health, said the ministry has proposed regulations on limiting or banning smoking from wedding parties or funerals. -- Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper has so far received more than VND55 billion (US$2.56 million) from donors since it launched a … [Read more...]

Breakfast @ Tuoi Tre News – April 18


Tuoi Tre News briefs you on some of the leading stories published today, April 18, in Vietnamese media. -- Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his visiting Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg had talks in Hanoi on Friday, during which they agreed to encourage and support the two countries’ investors to explore cooperation opportunities, especially in maritime economy, seafood, energy, information technology and green growth. Society -- The search for the two pilots of two Sukhoi Su-22 fighter jets that went missing during a training exercise off central Vietnam on Friday continues today, with rescuers saying they found a tail of one of the planes 50 meters underwater in waters off Binh Thuan Province on late Friday afternoon. -- The Central Steering Board for Corruption Prevention and Control has set up seven inspection teams to inspect anti-corruption activities in the four ministries of Planning and Investment, Industry and Trade, Construction, and … [Read more...]

Maggie Q says Vietnam can help save rhinos


Renowned American actress Maggie Q said at a press conference on the "Stop Using Rhino Horn" campaign in Hanoi on Friday that Vietnam can help save rhinos and become a leader by taking strong action and showing the world the country can end the trade in rhino horn. She said it saddened her to see the number of rhinos killed for their horns on the premise that the animal holds special curative properties. "It’s almost impossible to believe Vietnam is [the world’s] number one consumer of rhino horns. I don’t want to believe that they [the consumers] don’t care, I do believe that they don’t know," Maggie Q, the campaign’s international ambassador, said at the conference. The actress emphasized that the act of selling illegal wildlife products is criminal and if people give money to the trade, that means they are funding criminals. She believed that education and media campaigns are very helpful in preventing this illegal trade. "I would like … [Read more...]

WHO vouchsafes assistance to Vietnam in ensuring food safety


The World Health Organization (WHO) is committed to standing side by side with the Vietnamese government in ensuring food safety, Jeffery Kobza, acting chief representative of the WHO in Vietnam, has said. >> In Vietnam, mobile food stands around schools pose threats to students’ health The WHO official made the commitment at a ceremony jointly held by the health organization and the Vietnamese Ministry of Health in Hanoi on Monday to mark the World Health Day 2015 (April 7), whose topic was food safety, according to newswire Vietnamplus. A number of food safety incidents in recent years have shown their multinational effects, which is required to be addressed by governmental efforts and to be given more attention by consumers globally, Kobza said. Food safety has emerged as a prominent topic and was chosen by the WHO as the theme of this year’s World Health Day, he said. This theme would help enhance public awareness of the importance of food safety and … [Read more...]

Bach Mai hospital, GE Healthcare cooperate on medical training and education

Photo: ATP

(CPV) - Bach Mai hospital and GE Healthcare signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Hanoi to introduce a new education program at the Hanoi-based hospital, aimed at improving patient connectivity and clinical decision making. The collaboration includes USD250,000 in patient monitors, provided by GE Healthcare, which will be used to help train Vietnamese clinicians from across the country on how to better utilize patient monitors to improve patient care, specifically in the Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit (ICU). More than 30 of the company’s B40 and CARESCAPE B650 patient monitors, in addition to two CIC Pro central monitoring stations will be provided by GE Healthcare, thus assisting clinicians in potentially reducing a patient’s duration of stay and mortality in the ICU. According to Professor Nguyen Quoc Anh, Director of Bach Mai hospital, strengthening the application of modern technology to improve the quality of medical care and training has … [Read more...]

Public agencies in southern Vietnam province see Facebook as good communication channel


More Vietnamese government organizations have looked to Facebook for more effective interaction with members of the public, and the southern province of Dong Thap appears supportive of the trend. The administration of Dong Thap, known as a hub of beautiful flowers in the Mekong Delta, has its own Facebook page, whereas many other organizations are also contacting people via the world’s largest social network. Dong Thap has the most publicly-run Facebook page compared to its peers in the delta region, including Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Vinh Long, Soc Trang, An Giang, Bac Lieu, and Ca Mau, according to Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper. Facebook is an "effective means of communication thanks to its social interaction," the Hanoi-based newspaper quoted Ngo Thi Ngoc Hanh, deputy director of the province’s television and radio station, as saying. The administration of Cao Lanh, the provincial capital city, the Dong Thap news portal, and Dong Thap … [Read more...]

Vietnam announces health minister’s official Facebook page


The Vietnamese Ministry of Health has announced the official Facebook page of Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, who uses it as a channel to provide information and receive questions regarding healthcare from the public. >> Premier asks Vietnam government’s official information be posted on social media Minister Tien’s official Facebook page is accessible at, the ministry’s office said, adding that she also has a fan page. The Facebook page and fan page were set up in late 2014 and the former has been providing updated official information on the health sector, said Ha Anh Duc, deputy chief of the ministry’s secretariat. The official announcement of the minister’s Facebook address followed the fact that there are many pages claiming to be the minister's Facebook page, but they are fake, Duc said. Regarding the question of whether Minister Tien’s Facebook page will be handled by herself or her … [Read more...]

Fruit import inspected over hepatitis A scare


A consumer selects fruits at a supermarket (Photo: VNA) Vietnam is examining Chinese fruit imports as mandated by the Department of Plant Protection (DPP), triggered by the announcement that Chinese fruits shipped to Australia are allegedly contaminated with the hepatitis A virus (HAV). On February 24, Sai Gon Giai phong (Liberated Saigon) Daily quoted the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s department, saying it received a warning from relevant Australian agencies of 13 suspected cases of HAV after eating frozen mixed fruits from China. The allegedly contaminated fruits, imported by the Patties Foods Limited, were grown in Chile and China and packaged at a China-based factory. Also on February 24, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health’s Department of Food Safety and Hygiene asked the DPP to inspect Chinese fruit imports and prepare control measures when necessary. DPP Director Nguyen Xuan Hong said after receiving the warning, his department requested … [Read more...]

Vietnam, Japan ink MoU to enhance medical cooperation

The Vietnamese Ministry of Health signed a cooperation memorandum of understanding (MoU) with medical universities in Japan’s Kansai region and the Japan Association for International Health on February 12. Accordingly, they will strengthen their affiliation in developing human resources by sharing experience; exchanging students, lecturers and researchers; and building joint research programmes. They will also work together to prepare for an aging society; prevent and control communicable and non-communicable diseases; introduce advanced medical equipment; apply information technology; and bridge the two countries’ hospitals, institutes, and universities. At the signing ceremony in Hanoi, Deputy Minister of Health Le Quang Cuong said Japan is one of Vietnam’s largest bilateral official development assistance (ODA) providers with a number of ODA-funded, effectively implemented healthcare projects. The two ministries of health also signed a cooperation MoU during … [Read more...]

Japan helps Dien Bien province improve maternal and infant health


The signing ceremony for the third phase of the project at the Japanese embassy NDO – The Japanese Government will provide Vietnam with another US$337,621 to fund the third phrase of a project designed to improve the health of mothers and children in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien. According to World Vision Japan, the non-government organisation responsible for implementing the project, Dien Bien province has poor healthcare infrastructure and lacks modern medical equipment. In addition, the rate of local residents using healthcare services is very low because of language and cultural barriers, and inconvenient transport, even though these services are provided free of charge. Since 2012, the organisation has co-ordinated with the Vietnamese Ministry of Health and provincial health authorities to upgrade healthcare centres and help local health workers to improve their skills of caring for mothers and infants in two disadvantaged districts of Muong Cha and … [Read more...]