|A doctor examines an Agent Orange victim at a special health centre for people who contributed to the country's struggle for independence in Thanh Hoa Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Thuy
HA NOI (VNS
)— Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Minh Quang has asked relevant ministries to set up new centres devoted to research on Agent Orange and provision of care for dioxin patients.
Quang made the comment at a conference on dioxin held on Tuesday in Ha Noi.
While the use of the Agent Orange (AO) toxin by the US during the war in Viet Nam occurred more than 30 years ago, the country still doesn't have any centre or hospital specialising in treating AO patients.
These patients were treated at hospitals across the country, a factor in the limited success on treatment and scientific research into the long-lasting affects of the toxin.
"The consequences of Agent Orange is still severe and will remain so for many years to come," said Quang. "It is a complicated issue that requires more investment and better co-operation from different sectors."
In the near future, it is important to set up projects to prevent dioxin spreading at the Bien Hoa airbase in southern Dong Nai Province, he said, adding that former soldiers and people who live in areas that contaminated with AO were also a priority.
In September Military Hospital 103 provided health checks for AO victims from Da Nang City. The patients received health checks and tests for dioxin concentration in their blood, with many seeing an improvement in their condition.
The Ha Noi Medical University has completed research on congenital malformation in children born in dioxin affected areas. The university is preparing to implement a project on providing consultations on preventing congenital malformation for women who plan to have children in some seriously affected areas.
The Viet Nam Academy of Science and Technology has also worked with the Office of the National Steering Committee on overcoming the consequences of the toxin, with several US government agencies co-operating on a pilot project to clean up the most seriously affected areas.
A total of 100,000cu.m of soil contaminated with dioxin was buried at the Bien Hoa airbase in the southern province of Dong Nai in a project that cost a total of VND75 billion (US$3.5 million).
More than 200,000 people in Viet Nam who took part in the resistance war receive monthly allowances from the Government to support treatment of Agent Orange, according to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. — VNS