|Medical workers talk to women in Nui Thanh District, Quang Nam Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
HCM CITY (VNS) — HCM City has been successful in controlling gender imbalance at birth with a sex ratio of 106 to107 boys per 100 girls a year in the last four years, according to the city's Family Planning and Population Division.
The city attributes the success to education, an increased number of inspections, and improved surveillance of compliance with the ban on sex selection of embryos.
In 2011, the division began an intervention programme to reduce gender imbalance at birth.
More than 41,599 couples who have registered to marry have been provided information about the ban on sex selection of embryos and gender imbalance issues at people's committees at communes and wards.
Video clips on gender imbalance at birth are regularly shown at Galaxy movie cinemas in the city.
At a meeting celebrating World Population Day which falls on July 11, Tran Van Tri, the division's deputy head, said the city would continue to take the initiative to prevent another increase in gender imbalance.
In the first six months of the year, the sex ratio was 108.8 boys per 100 girls in the city, he said.
The city had 21,660 babies born in the first six months, a decrease of 14.3 per cent compared to the same period last year.
The rate of young people and people of working age will continue to have a downward trend, while the rate of older people will have an upward trend.
Pham Thi My Le, the division's deputy head, said the city would carry out more communication programmes to encourage couples to have two children to stem the decrease in the birth rate.
Tri said the city had also carried out programmes on prenatal and newborn screening. As many as 155,691 pregnant women have been checked. Of these 5,694 were diagnosed with a disease.
More than 164,700 newborns were given blood tests, and 848 of them had some kind of illness or disease.
The city provides reproductive health care programmes for migrant women and women in the city's outlying districts and the island district of Can Gio.
The Ministry of Health and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) have called for redoubled efforts to protect the health and rights of women and girls during natural disasters.
At a meeting in Ha Noi for World Population Day today (July 11), the Deputy Minister of Health, Nguyen Viet Tien, said Viet Nam was one of the most hazard-prone countries in the Asia and Pacific region.
He said it had a long coast line and about 70 per cent of population lived near it and on low-lying deltas.
This meant Viet Nam needed to prepare well for natural disasters, including climate change, ensuring that the needs of women and girls were not overlooked.
"Given Viet Nam's vulnerability to natural disasters, Viet Nam needs to effectively carry out communication and behaviour change activities on reproductive health and family planning, particularly for vulnerable populations in the remote, hard-to-reach areas affected by natural disaster," said Tien.
UNFPA acting representative in Viet Nam, Ritsu Nacken, said the organisation was strongly committed.
"UNFPA works with the Government and other development partners to help secure the health, development and human rights of Vietnamese people, particularly women and girls," she said.
"When a crisis strikes, UNFPA is on the ground to make sure that the rights and needs of women and girls are at the forefront of humanitarian response. Securing their safety, dignity and health ensures the well-being of families and communities," said Ritsu Nacken.
Deputy chairman of the National Assembly, Uong Chu Luu, said that many problems related to population and reproductive health remained challenges for the country's sustainable development, such as high population density and gender imbalance.
He said Viet Nam needed to uphold the advantages of the "golden" population (people of working age higher than the rest), adjust the rate of population growth and stop sex selection during the pregnancy.
"By prioritising health, rights and the full participation of women, adolescent girls and young people in public life, we increase our prospects for a more just, stable and peaceful country," he said. — VNS