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Vietnam among top countries of sex ratio imbalance at birth



As Vietnam is listed among three countries with the highest rate of sex ratio imbalance at birth, local authorities are making efforts to raise public awareness and tighten regulations to shorten the gap.

Vietnam among top countries of sex ratio imbalance at birth

Vietnam’s imbalance rate in 2019 was 111.5 boys per 100 girls. 

According to the latest report on the world’s population conducted by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Vietnam’s imbalance rate in 2019 was 111.5 boys per 100 girls, behind only China and India – the two most populous countries in the world.

Vietnam has faced a sex ratio imbalance at birth since 2006.

Pham Vu Hoang, deputy head of General Office for Population and Family Planning, said the imbalance started in Vietnam late but has increased faster than in other Asian countries.

In 2006, the country’s sex ratio at birth started to exceed normal levels (104-106 boys to 100 girls). That ratio increased to 111.2 boys in 2010 and 112.8 boys in 2015. The increase was different between urban and rural areas and among regions.

The general population and housing census in 2019 showed the ratio was higher in rural areas than urban. The Red River Delta in the north had the highest level of imbalance.

Ha Thi Quynh Anh, a gender and human right specialist from the UNFPA, attributed the sex imbalance at birth in Vietnam to biased gender selection.

Many families in Vietnam prefer sons to inherit the home when parents have died and take over ancestor worship. Men are believed to be stronger than women so sons are trusted to work and take care of parents when they get old.

Many families abuse the development of technology to select their children’s gender. Decreased family size has forced parents to choose to have at least one son, she said.

Those reasons resulted in 40,800 unborn girls in Vietnam each year. This figure is calculated based on the difference between the estimated number of girls born following natural laws and the actual number of girls born in a year, Anh said.

International and Vietnamese studies have shown that sex imbalance at birth can lead to unpredictable consequences for society, the economy and political security.

There will be more men at marriage age than women, breaking the family structure, Pham Vu Hoang, deputy head of the General Office for Population and Family Planning said.

International experts have predicted that if the sex imbalance at birth is not controlled, by 2050, Vietnam will have a surplus of about 2.3 to 4.3 million men. That leads to some men having to marry late and many of them being unable to.

The increase in the sex ratio at birth also increases inequality such as the early marriage of women, increasing rate of divorce and remarriage of women, gender violence and woman trafficking, Hoang said.

UNFPA expert Ha Thi Quynh Anh said biased gender selection will put women under pressure to give birth to sons, leading to abortion or multiple births until they have a boy. This affects the physical, mental, reproductive and sexual health of women. Men will find it difficult to look for a partner to marry when they mature, especially men with low education, from poor families or who live in disadvantaged areas.

Vietnam has not felt the consequences of sex ratio imbalance at birth yet, but experiences from China and India show the consequences. Vietnam needs proper policies to respond to the problem, she said.

Raising public awareness

To control the sex ratio imbalance at birth, Vietnam adopted a project in the 2016-25 period which focuses on raising public awareness and encouraging the involvement of agencies, social organisations and the community to take action.

It aims to pull down the imbalance to a natural ratio of below 109 boys per 100 girls by 2030.

Taking effect from next month, violations in counselling methods to obtain the desired sex of a fetus will face tougher punishments, he said.

UNFPA expert Ha Thi Quynh Anh recommended Vietnam pay attention to communication to change social norms towards gender equality by putting gender education in the school curriculum.

To change social norms on gender, Vietnam should focus on changing public behaviours through communication channels to remove gender stereotypes and build new gender norms.

“We need to build positive male and female models as well as new gender standards in the family. For example, men are willing to share the chores with women; women can do jobs previously thought only to be able to be done by men. Children can take the mother’s surname or sons and daughters have equal inheritance rights.”

Vietnam needs to promote men’s participation in gender equality and violence prevention against women and girls. We should put forward social protection policies for the elderly to eliminate the thought of having a son to rely on in old age, she said. VNS



HCMC traffic deaths lowest in 20 years: official



HCMC traffic deaths lowest in 20 years: official

Motorbikes hit by a car in HCMC, November 19, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van.

A combination of tough measures and increased public awareness has seen HCMC record its lowest traffic deaths in two decades – 516 in January-November.

In the past three years, the number of traffic accidents and related fatalities has dropped annually, Colonel Huynh Trung Phong, head of the Road and Railway Traffic Police Division of the city’s Police Department, said at a conference Thursday.

Looking back two decades, 2002 was the deadliest year, with 1,410 traffic accident deaths, he said.

The situation has improved because the city has steadfastly and firmly implemented safety measures, including raising public awareness, he said.

HCMC has led the nation in punishing driving under the influence (DUI) violations.

This year, more than 31,000 drivers have been fined for DUI offenses under the Law on Preventing Alcohol’s Harmful Effects that took effect on January 1. Nationwide, more than 156,000 drivers have been fined.

“There have been months when the city handled nearly 14,000 violations, while the nationwide figure was just 53,000,” Phuong said. He said the city would continue to focus on DUI offenses as a main reason for traffic accidents.

Under the new law, any driver with alcohol on his or her breath faces fines of VND400,000-600,000 ($17-26) on bicycles or electric motorbikes. For motorbike drivers, the fines are VND6-8 million, and for cars, VND30-40 million. All drivers can have their licenses revoked for 22-24 months.

Tran Quang Lam, director of the municipal Transport Department, said that since 2016, the city has also invested in a number of traffic infrastructure projects to reduce gridlocks and accidents. As of August this year, it had finished building 72 bridges, upgraded and put into use a total of 384 km (240 miles) of roads. This has helped ease traffic jams in many areas, especially major gateways like the Cat Lai Port in District 2 and the Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

“Access to investment and the time-consuming site clearance process remain the biggest obstacles,” Lam said, explaining that this has led to many traffic infrastructure projects remaining incomplete.

City chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said at the conference that in the past three years, the city has put into use 57 traffic infrastructure projects worth more than VND11 trillion ($473.21 million) in total, which has helped minimize traffic congestion in many areas.

“Despite such efforts, the city’s traffic infrastructure is still put under a lot of pressure due to a significant increase in the number of private vehicles and sidewalks are still prone to encroachment,” he said.

As of June, HCMC had 9.84 million private vehicles, up 7 percent against the same period last year. The number of cars went up 26 percent to 825,000 and that of motorbikes more than 6 percent to 8.12 million. From 2010, the number of private vehicles in the city has increased by more than four million.

Officials said at the meeting that from now until 2025, the city needs to continue with the measures it has been implementing in order to reduce the number of traffic accidents by 5 percent each year.


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Overseas Vietnamese: Inseparable part of Vietnam



Immigrants have sent roughly US$75 billion in remittances to the country in the past five years.

Vietnam has once again affirmed the crucial role of overseas Vietnamese in the building and development of the country.

The role of overseas Vietnamese (OV) has been reflected in various aspects regarding economics, politics, culture, and international relations over the past 16 years when Vietnam first launched its policy on the OV affairs, according to Dang Minh Khoi, deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and chairman of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs (COVA).

The Politburo, the most powerful body of the Communist Party of Vietnam, issued Resolution 36-NQ/BCT (Resolution 36) dated March 26, 2004 on OV affairs, affirming the Vietnamese community abroad is an indivisible part of the nation.

Mr. Khoi has highlighted OV contributions to the country in the 2016-2020 period and the need of OV for the next five years and the 10-year Socio-economic Strategy 2021 – 2030. 

Main approaches in Vietnam’s OV affairs

Vietnam has adopted regulations on citizenship, immigration, education, accommodation, social welfare, among others, while difficulties in legal status of Vietnamese expatriates in some areas have been gradually removed.

Overseas Vietnamese: Inseparable part of Vietnam
Secretary General of the Communist Party of Vietnam and State President Nguyen Phu Trong and other leaders attend Tet holiday 2019. Photo: Xuan Que Huong

Cultural programs have been promoted with the aim of preserving and disseminating traditional culture through the establishment of Vietnamese cultural centers abroad and numerous festivities. Notably, teaching the Vietnamese language has been popularized while traditional religious practices are also encouraged.

Local authorities have boosted the dissemination of updated policies on OV affairs and facilitated the coverage of the country’s big events for OV reporters.

Numerous activities strengthening the nationalism and bonds with the nation have been organized domestically and abroad like Homeland Spring, Expatriates Visiting Truong Sa Islands, Summer Youth Camp, Gathering for Tet Holiday, Vietnam’s Cultural Day, Arts Programs, and National Holidays.

A lot of persuasion and facilitation has been made to those who have biased thinking, encouraging them to return to the country to visit their relatives and witness the nation’s progress.

A number of policies have been made to draw intellectual OV, mainly young people, and to tackle problems for overseas Vietnamese businesses, scientists, experts, and investors who return for research, doing business and making investment.

More individuals are welcomed to participate in the country’s important agencies and think-tanks like the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Group, the Vietnam Fatherland Front, etc.

In the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam has disseminated preventive measures and provided disaster relief to Vietnamese communities in areas of difficulties; repatriated OV and sought support of host countries for confirmed Vietnamese.

Results in past five years

Mr. Khoi emphasized that the number of OV rose 18% over the past five years from 4.5 million in 109 countries and territories in 2015 to roughly 5.3 million in 130 countries and territories.

Their role in the host countries has also improved with recognized legal status, stable residence, better integration into the society, and more engagement in politics. An estimated 500,000 or 10% of OV are experts and intellectuals. A generation of talented young Vietnamese people is recognized in spearhead sectors namely IT, telecommunications, electronics, new materials, machine engineering and biology.

More OV associations have been established, more cultural and religious activities have been organized together with the expansion of the Vietnamese teaching programs in the past five years. The Vietnamese language has been inserted into curricula at primary school in many countries.

Overseas Vietnamese have become crucial in Vietnam’s development and international integration.

Many individuals and businesses have invested in the country and boosted trade with other exporting markets. A host of multinational companies led by OV have stepped up technology transfer and provided jobs to thousands of people.

In the past five years, Vietnamese living abroad sent more than US$71 billion in remittances to the country with an average annual growth rate of 6%, largely contributing to improving the balance of payments and increasing the state foreign exchange reserves. As of October 2020, overseas Vietnamese from 27 countries and territories have invested US$1.6 billion in 362 projects in Vietnam.

“Fund for the Sea and Islands of Vietnam” has marked the donation of a large number of OV, showing their contribution to protecting national sovereignty and strengthening solidarity.

In addition, support to victims of dioxin/Agent Orange, natural disasters, and epidemics has been significant with approximate VND35 billion (US$1.5 million) and medical equipment in the Covid-19 pandemic fight, as well as VND34 billion and foods and goods to victims of floods in the central region in October. 

More support expected

Mr. Khoi has also addressed challenges to the OV affairs, saying that more support should be provided to help the communities overcome difficulties caused by the global health crisis.

He emphasized that Vietnam needs to make more efforts in this area to ensure better support to the OV communities, mainly in legal status recognition, economic development and social integration into native countries, citizen protection, management of workers and students abroad, dissemination of traditional cultural values and language, contribution to the national protection, and facilitation of working conditions to overseas scientists, experts and intellectuals.  Hanoitimes 

Linh Pham


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One-year-old Russian girl among eight new imported cases of COVID-19



Some of the latest COVID-19 patients on Friday are being treated at Khánh Hoà Tropical Diseases Hospital. Photo

HÀ NỘI — A Russian woman and her one-year-old daughter are among the latest patients to test positive for coronavirus.

Eight imported COVID-19 cases were confirmed on Friday, taking the total number in Việt Nam to 1,339, said the Ministry of Health.

The 31-year-old Russian national is the relative of an expert working in Việt Nam.

Patients 1332, 1333, 1334 and 1335 arrived at Cam Ranh Airport on flight QH9195 from Moscow on November 24, including the two Russian nationals and two Vietnamese nationals.

They are undergoing treatment at Cam Lâm Health Clinic and Khánh Hoà Tropical Diseases Hospital.

Patient 1336 is a 28-year-old man who arrived from UK at Vân Đồn Airport on flight VN56 on November 6.  Earlier, two other people on the same flight tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

He is being treated at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Đông Anh District, Hà Nội.

Patient 1337, a 30-year-old man and an expert from Japan, arrived in Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport on November 25 on flight JL759. He’s being treated at Củ Chi Hospital.

Patient 1338, a 48-year-old Vietnamese woman, arrived from Russia at Cam Ranh Airport on November 11 on flight VN5062. She’s also being treated at Củ Chi Hospital. Earlier, 24 other people on the same flight tested positive for the virus.

Patient 1339, a 36-year-old Vietnamese man, arrived from France at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport on November 11. Six other people from the same flight previously tested positive.

The total number of recoveries in Việt Nam to date is 1,170. —


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