Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Reproductive health experts and teachers should focus on education in how to safely avoid pregnancy and prevent sexually transmitted diseases, according to Việt Nam Gynaecology and Obstetrics Association.
Prof Dr Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Phượng, deputy chairwoman of the association and president of the HCM City Society for Reproductive Medicine, told a forum held in HCM City yesterday on helping women access modern contraceptives: “It is natural for adolescent boys and girls to fall in love with each other. We cannot prevent them. Of course, having sex is unavoidable.”
It is very important that they should be guided in how to avoid unexpected pregnancies and abortions, she said.
She said a Canadian family planning expert had told her that education had helped reduce the number of abortions among adolescents in Canada.
She cited the World Health Organisation (WHO) as recommending that young people should take low-dose contraceptive pills and use condoms to avoid unintended pregnancies and STDs.
According to the Ministry of Health’s maternal and child health department, 250,000-300,000 abortions are reported officially every year in Việt Nam.
Việt Nam is one of the five countries in the world with the highest rates of abortions and the highest in Asia, according to WHO.
Dr Nguyễn Thị Bích Ty, deputy head of the family planning department at HCM City’s Từ Dũ Hospital, was quoted in a press release issued at the forum as saying that 14,159 women came to her hospital for abortions in the first six months of this year.
There had been 27,154 last year.
According to Dr Hoàng Thị Diễm Tuyết, director of Hùng Vương Hospital in HCM City, the number this year was 7,143.
Phượng said many adolescent girls did not dare go to large and reputed hospitals like these two for abortions and instead went to private clinics where it is often not safe.
“I cannot forget an 18-year-old girl who died after an abortion at one such private clinic. She developed complications and died on the way from the clinic to Từ Dũ Hospital.”
Though many hospitals use the right techniques and ensure hygiene, complications such as infection of the womb, excessive bleeding, damage to the cervix and others could occur, she said.
These could lead to infertility in future, she warned.
“It is best to use contraception.”
Contraceptive pills including combined oral contraceptive ones had become safer and safer after more than 50 years of research, she said.
“They are so small, so powerful, but so misunderstood.”
It is not right to believe the pills can cause infertility or cancer, according to Phượng.
Women can become pregnant immediately after they stop using the pills.
The combined oral contraceptive pills in fact help reduce the risk of cervical and ovarian cancers, according to many foreign studies.
They have many other advantages such as regularising menstruation.
She advised that women should be screened by doctors for cancer and other diseases before using pills and also after they use for six months or a year.
Emergency contraception, which should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex, is also available in the market, but should not be used too often because it could cause menstrual disorders, she said.
The forum was organised by HCM City Women newspaper and Bayer Việt Nam to mark World Contraception Day, September 26.
They will carry out reproductive health education programmes for more than 2,000 students at 10 city universities.
The first was held at Nguyễn Tất Thành Unviersity on September 22 and the others will be organised over the next few months. —VNS