Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Despite great efforts, the rate of sex imbalance at birth in Hà Nội remains high, reaching alarming level in several suburban districts, according to the municipal Department of Population and Family Planning.
According to a department report on population and family planning for the first half of this year, Hà Nội’s rate of sex imbalance at birth is above the nationwide average.
Hà Nội’s rate is 114 boys/ 100 girls whereas the country’s rate is 112.7 boys/100 girls.
Some suburban districts even have alarming rate such as Ứng Hòa District with 132.6 boys/100 girls, Mê Linh District with 127 boys/100 girls, Ba Vì District with 123.6 boys/100 girls and Sóc Sơn District with 123.5 boys/100 girls.
Nguyễn Đình Lân, deputy director of the department, said the rate was imbalanced as people much preferred having sons so tired everything possible to bear a son.
From January to June this year, 46,965 children were born in Hà Nội, an increase of 510 compared with the same period last year.
Nguyễn Văn Tân, permanent deputy director of the General Department for Population and Family Planning under the Ministry of Health (MOH), said that as technology developed, the sex imbalance at birth rose.
Although the office banned using ultrasound to determine a child’s gender before birth, more than 80 per cent of mothers knew their children’s gender before delivery.
There were too few inspectors to tackle this issue, he said.
In the first year of a project of controlling sex imbalance at birth for 2016-25, the MOH worked with provinces and cities to inspect nearly 500 centres supplying ultrasound services.
However, deputy director Lân said it was difficult to discover violations of the ban, because the child’s gender was not printed on paper and discussed orally instead.
In Hà Nội, since the beginning of this year, inspectors fined two bookstores VNĐ2 million (US$90) each for selling books about selecting foetus’ gender.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Viết Tiến said that sex imbalance at birth often happened in northern areas including Hà Nội, because people living in the south cared less about the gender of their children.
The imbalance may lead to women getting married earlier, an increase in divorces, gender violence and sex workers.
The most sustainable measure, said Deputy Minister Tiến, was co-ordination between different sectors and organisations to educate people to put less importance on having a son.
Tạ Quang Huy, director of the Hà Nội Department of Population and Family Planning, said that reducing the sex imbalance at birth was difficult work, but must be done.
The department plans to pay more attention to education and consulting couples at child bearing age and increasing the supply of contraception.
Hà Nội will conduct unexpected and periodic inspections on medical stations and clinics giving ultrasound services and punish those announcing the foetus’ gender. – VNS