Đinh Huy Dương, head of the Department of Communication and Education under the General Office for Population and Family Planning. Photo quandoinhandan.vn
Đinh Huy Dương, head of the Department of Communication and Education under the General Office for Population and Family Planning, talks to Quân đội Nhân dân (People’s Army) online newspaper about the impacts of the COVID-19 on population quality
Studies found that women and girls suffered the most from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global scale, including issues relating to reproductive health. What are your thoughts on this?
According to a research carried out by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in March this year, an estimated 12 million women worldwide lost access to family planning services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Poor women were the most vulnerable. The pandemic has overwhelmed the healthcare systems, particularly in the field of reproductive health, in many countries in the world.
Amid the context of the pandemic, even those who can afford reproductive health services still wait due to worries about financial instability and the crisis. Others faced disruptions in getting access to contraception in couples in lockdown and quarantine so they faced high risk of unintended pregnancies.
Gender violence also increased amid lockdown periods. In addition, a large number of women were forced to quit jobs due to low salary and have higher responsibilities to take care of children, parents and house work.
Family planning is one medical service that has been disrupted across the globe on a large scale. How has Việt Nam been affected in getting access to this service? What advice would you give to Vietnamese women concerned about reproductive health care and family planning services in the current context?
Although family planning is very important, it is often ignored because of other urgent concerns. Under the pressure of the economy and budget reduction, there is a risk that many countries will not be able to recover this service.
In Việt Nam, although the COVID-19 pandemic is still developing complicatedly, reproductive health and family planning services such as periodical prenatal care, prenatal screening, contraception and treatment of gynaecological diseases are still carried out at both public and private medical establishments.
The health and population system still operates normally, providing reproductive health consultancy and care for all those in need.
Any disruption in this issue would affect the health and lives of women and girls.
Resolution No 21-NQ/TW set goals for population and development. What has the General Office of Population and Family Planning done to contribute to fulfilling those targets?
In recent years, in order to realise goals set by the Resolution No.21, the population sector has carried out many activities to improve population quality. Apart from communication tasks, the sector has also paid attention to expanding and increasing the application of high-end techniques and enhancing service quality, to meet the increasing demand of people.
In order to deal with sex imbalance at birth among regions and maintain replacement fertility rate, the population sector built a system of education designed for each region and finalised relevant supporting policies.
With the aim of increasing the fertility rate in regions where it is still slow, the General Office of Population and Family Planning has implemented effective measures to encourage people to give birth to two with a focus on priority groups and workers at industrial zones.
Regarding population structure and improving population quality, the sector has also continued to effectively implement programmes and plans on controlling sex imbalance at birth; screening for diseases, antenatal and neonatal diseases; providing premarital counselling and health checks and health care for the elderly.
The plan on prenatal and neonatal screening is widely carried out at public medical facilities, helping to provide related information for parents and reduce the rate of children born with birth defects, thus contributing to ensuring the population quality. VNS