Disabled people benefit from German project
More than 2,000 people with disabilities and their families in the central province of Quang Tri have profited from a German-funded rehabilitation project over the past 13 years.
The figure was announced at a meeting to review the implementation of the community-based project (from January 2001 to December 2013) on December 16 and 17.
Financed by the German Caritas Association, it has taught physical therapy to local medical staff and families of disabled people in Cam Lo and Gio Linh districts and Dong Ha city.
So far, 55 training courses have been offered with the participation of 3,568 people.
The project has also loaned over 3.6 billion VND (171,400 USD) to 1,087 households with disabled people to improve their livelihoods.
At the meeting, participants shared their opinions on how to enhance the project’s effectiveness and sustainability, such as raising the credit fund and loan term, increasing training and the number of local volunteers, and promoting residents’ involvement in helping people with disabilities.
Taxi carrying foreigner burned on way to airport
A taxi cab with four passengers, including one foreigner, suddenly caught on fire on its way to Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City.
The accident happened on Nguyen Van Troi street in Phu Nhuan district at around 7am on Dec 16.
The front of a Hoang Long Co. 4-seat taxi suddenly became engulfed in flames in front of 78D Nguyen Van Troi.
The driver and four male passengers quickly got out of the car and shouted for help. The driver smashed the rear windshield to remove the passengers’ luggage. They soon got into another cab to reach the airport on time.
The car, which sustained serious damage to its front and hood, was later towed away. The accident caused traffic congestion on a section of the street, which was cleared after two hours.
Recently, a number of motorbikes, cars, and buses have caught on fire, allegedly from poor-quality petrol.
Vietnam to create jobs for 1.6 million labourers
A conference seeking ways to realise the target is being held in the central city of Da Nang from December 17-18 by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA). It is attended by officials from provincial and municipal departments of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and job placement centres nationwide.
At the event, MOLISA Minister Pham Thi Hai Chuyen stated that job creation has a direct impact on political stability, national development and the improvement of people’s living conditions.
For the target, the implementation of the national goal for employment and vocational training in 2012-2015 will be sped up.
Projects providing loans for the creation of jobs, supporting the development of the labour market and enhancing the building capacity of job placement centres will be put in the spotlight.
In addition, the labour market analysing capacity of relevant agencies will be further improved.
According to the ministry, 1,040,000 people got jobs over the first 11 months of this year, fulfilling 87.8 percent of the yearly plan. The figure included 78,769 guest workers.
It is estimated that 1,540,000 people will get jobs in 2013, or 96.25 percent of the yearly plan.
Individuals honoured for donating special documents
Three individuals in Ho Chi Minh City have been awarded certificates of merit for donating precious documents that help protect the nation’s territorial seas and islands.
At the awarding ceremony on December 17, Deputy Head of the National Boundary Commission Tran Duy Hai lauded the donations from Le Hoan Hung in Go Vap district and Mai Thi Phi and Mai Thi Phuong in Binh Thanh district.
According to the official, protecting the territorial seas and islands is the responsibility of all Vietnamese people.
He said he hopes to receive more precious documents relating to the country’s seas and islands territory from collectors across the country.
Collector Le Hoan Hung took the occasion to donate the Indochina Meteorological Annals, published in Hanoi in 1942.
Hung said he hopes to help more people understand about the undeniable territorial rights of Vietnam over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelagos.-
Broken water pipes affect 70,000 households
The water pipeline from the Da River to Ha Noi broke again on Monday evening, affecting about 70,000 households in the city.
Nguyen Anh Viet, head of the Clean Water Investment and Construction Corporation, said that workers discovered the broken water pipe in Thach That District’s Tien Xuan Commune.
He said the corporation has sent workers to fix the pipe, adding that the job would take some time to complete.
“We think the repair will be completed by tomorrow morning,” he said.
About 70,000 households in the districts of Cau Giay, Hoang Mai and Thanh Xuan have been affected by the water outage. The reason for the pipe breaking are unknown.
Last month, the water pipe on the Thang Long Avenue in Quoc Oai District broke, affecting water supplies. The cause at that time was the weak surrounding ground, plus the close proximity of the water pipe to the highway. That repair cost VND2 billion (US$100,000), according to officials.
World Bank in Vietnam keen on climate change response
The World Bank has paid special attention to projects to respond to climate change, Country Director of the World Bank (WB) in Vietnam Victoria Kwakwa said during her working session with authorities of the Mekong delta city of Can Tho in the city on December 16.
Kwakwa also expressed hope that her institution will be able to sponsor Can Tho in big projects that are poised to work for the development of the entire Mekong Delta region.
The working session focused on reviewing the progress of the ongoing WB-funded urban upgrade project in the city, which, as the WB representative viewed, has initially beautified the city and improved local people’s living standards.
The city’s authorities pledged to make the effective use of the WB’s funding until 2015.
The city’s future target is to continue mobilising and making the best use of external investment sources to develop infrastructure in such realms as education and response to climate change.
Australia funds climate change project in Quang Nam
Children will form the core of a US$470,000 climate change project financed by the Australian Government through the Save the Children.
The project, launched in Tam Ky city, the central province of Quang Nam, on December 16, targets seven coastal and riverside communes in the locality, aiming to enhance the capacity of children and the community as a whole in climate change adaptation.
It will integrate climate change resilience into local socio-economic development plans, schools’ curricula and activities of teenagers’ clubs, organise training courses for teachers and associations’ officials, and build community-based climate change adaptation models.
The project will run until December 2014.
Vietnam-RoK exchange in support of AO victims
Vietnamese and Korean artists presented special songs and dances on Vietnam’s land and people and Agent Orange victims.
Phan Thanh Rang, President of the Vinh Long City Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, said the province has more than 6,000 AO victims, including nearly 3,000 children. Most of them badly need financial support to re-integrate into the local community.
All money raised on the occasion will be used to build houses and a health centre for AO victims and provide scholarships and other services for them.
Experts ponder healthcare issues
Closer management and supervision was needed to limit violations in the partial privatisation of healthcare, said experts during an online meeting held in Ha Noi on Monday.
During the meeting, held by the Government Web Portal, experts discussed problems related to the partial privatisation of healthcare and how to prevent abuses.
Director of the Viet Nam-Germany Hospital Nguyen Tien Quyet said that the role of leaders in medical stations and hospitals was very important.
“If the leaders attach special importance to checking and oversight, the abuse of partial privatisation of healthcare equipment will not happen,” he said.
Quyet proposed using the capital for specific purposes and limiting abuses.
However, deputy chairman of the National Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee Nguyen Van Tien said residents would not believe in where money was being spent if the council supervising the funds for the partial privatisation of healthcare only included doctors and medical workers.
The health sector should arrange representatives from other organisations, such as the Fatherland Front Committee, to join the council in managing the health socialisation funds, said Tien.
Also, the Ministry of Health will soon issue the norms for tests to avoid offering identical services among different medical stations and hospitals, he added.
Associate Professor Pham Le Tuan, deputy minister of Health, said that at present the state budget was still limited, the health sector should call for other funding sources so that hospitals would have more equipment to better treat their patients.
In the near future, the Ministry of Health would evaluate the implementation of partial privatisation of healthcare to allow for proper adjustments, he said.
Also, the ministry will set up a financial structure to encourage hospitals to borrow capital with interest from banks to fund their investments.
The ministry will also issue treatment guidance and professional operating standards, and improve the inspection and supervision of hospital activities, he said.
Last year, a number of problems related to health equipment were discovered. Typically, the Hoai Duc Hospital in Hoai Duc District was found to have conducted nearly 25,000 blood tests for patients from August 1 last year to May 31 this year, while providing 1,149 duplicate blood test results to patients.
Vuong Thi Kim Thanh, head of the hospital’s laboratory, admitted that the duplication of results was meant to increase billings to the hospital’s insurance fund.
Each blood test result receives VND21,000 ($1) of social insurance payments.
The case was brought to light following denunciation from some health staff of the hospital.
Vietnam joins regional customs efforts
Vietnam has participated in joint-action programmes to develop procedures to share information on drug control and environmental criminals.
The Deputy Head of Vietnam Customs General Department, Nguyen Van Can, made the statement at the Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices for Asia and the Pacific-World Customs Organisation (RILO AP-WCO) Conference in Danang on December 17.
Information sharing from customs agencies among regional member countries has supported Vietnam in fighting smuggling, trans-national crimes and fraudulent trading, Can said.
He added that Vietnam’s customs officials have implemented a modernisation process in building transparent procedures with updated information technology, meeting international standards.
The conference, which saw the participation of 50 deputies from Sri Lanka, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vanuatu, Japan, Tonga, mainland China, Macau, Australia, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, India, Iran, RILO WE (Western) and RILO ECE (East and Central European), aims to review co-operation programmes and discussions on difficulties in exchanging intelligence among member countries.
Participants also discussed measures to control illegal border crossings, transport of chemicals and waste, and drug trafficking in the Asia-Pacific region.
According to the latest report, Vietnam’s Customs General Department had over 20,000 cases, with a total value of over VND551 billion (US$26 million) in 2013.
It also confiscated 70 packs of heroin weighing 61kg; 4.5kg of opium and 1,002kg of marijuana, as well as 30,000 tablets and 12.4kg of methamphetamine.
The report also said the customs agency seized an illegal transport of over 4,200kg of pangolin and scales, 2 tonnes of elephant tusks and 20kg of rhino horns this year.
Vietnam pushes ahead with life-long learning society
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has appealed for the best use of technological advances, making it easier for citizens to learn throughout their lives as Vietnam pushes ahead with building a life-long learning (LLL) society.
He made the call at a national conference in Hanoi on December 17 that discussed the vision and action needed to build a society of LLL which encompasses learning at all ages and includes formal, non-formal and informal learning.
The event was held as Vietnam is integrating into the world economy, especially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that will materialise its community by 2015.
In 2005, the Government adopted the LLL society strategy until 2010 and has recently passed through its extension to 2020, with clear responsibilities of ministries and agencies involved.
He suggested vulnerable groups like women, ethnic minority communities and those living in disaster-prone areas be given priority during the process.
Dam asked scientists, education professionals and policymakers to pinpoint major obstacles while calling for input from home and abroad on the strategy.
Intersectoral approaches were raised during the discussions, visualising how a learning society will come out and develop in light of the best international practices.
United Nations Country Director in Vietnam Pratibha Mehta praised Vietnam’s commitment to building a LLL society model, which she said will keep Vietnam off the “middle income” trap and shift its economy to one led by technology and professional skills.
Delegates from Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Thailand also shared relevant perspectives and experiences from their own countries. According to them, the model should be driven by financial means and interactive communities involved.
The event was a joint effort by the National Steering Committee on Building a Learning Society, the National Council on Education and Human Resource Development, the UN in Vietnam and the UNESCO Institute of Life-Long Learning.
VAVA to celebrate 10th founding anniversary
The Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin (VAVA) will convene its third National Congress for the 2013-2018 tenure and its 10th anniversary in Hanoi from December 23-24, said its President, Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Rinh.
Rinh said the event aims to review its past activities, and set development orientations to fulfil tasks assigned by the Party, State and people.
Over its decade of operation, VAVA has become a prestigious organisation caring for and protecting the rights of AO/dioxin victims.
VAVA has also worked hard as a core force putting pressure on the US Government to deal with the consequences of toxic chemicals that its army sprayed in Vietnam during the war, he added.
Through regular large-scale campaigns, the association has garnered 12.5 million signatures in the fight for justice for Vietnamese AO victims.
Moreover, some US$34 million has been raised at home and abroad, used to help dioxin victims with production, house revamps and construction while opening additional rehabilitation centres, and offering them scholarships and jobs.
VAVA now groups 59 chapters in cities and provinces nationwide with 315,000 members. As many as 24 rehabilitation and care centres are available in 24 localities.
*** A conference was held in Hanoi on December 17 to review the implementation of a project to rehabilitate people affected by Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin in Vietnam.
Speaking at the conference, jointly held by the Health Ministry and the Hanoi School of Public Health, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien said the project brought practical benefits for AO/dioxin victims and disabled people as they have seen their health improve.
Dr. Tran Trong Hai, the project’s vice director, said the project was implemented in several districts in the three provinces of Thai Binh, Quang Ngai and Dong Nai from 2008-2013. It aimed to improve the quality of life and help AO victims integrate into the community via rehabilitation intervention measures, provide aid devices and knowledge transfer, and propose amendments to legal documents on rehabilitation for the infected.
The project targeted AO/dioxin victims, who met difficulties in moving, seeing, hearing, speaking and studying, and those with strange behaviour, epilepsy, cancer and relevant chronic diseases.
After five years implementation, the project provided health check-ups for 6,670 victims of toxic chemicals and disabled people and offered medical devices to 1,266 others.
More than 1,000 people received surgery and were rehabilitated in hospitals, while over 7,500 others got the help at home. Ninety percent of them saw improvements in their health and were able to normalise their lives.
In the coming time, the project will be expanded to all districts in the three abovementioned provinces, and three new localities, namely Lao Cai, Quang Nam and Ben Tre. It is scheduled to cover all localities across the country after 2020.
Catholic committee meets ahead of Christmas
The Committee for Solidarity of Vietnamese Catholics (CSVC) held a get-together in Hanoi on December 17 in the lead up to Christmas celebrations.
Priest Nguyen Cong Danh, President of the committee, extended his best wishes to all Catholics nationwide, and called on them to engage more in the social life and activities of the Vietnam Catholic Church.
He also urged them to continue grasping the teachings “Living the Gospel amidst the heart of the Nation to serve the happiness of compatriots”, issued by the Vietnam Episcopal Council in 1980, and following Pope Benedict XVI’s teaching that a good Catholic must be a good citizen.
In its Christmas greetings letter, the CSVC expressed its wish that all religious and non-religious people will exert their efforts in economic development, charitable drives, educational and healthcare activities.
It said it believes that each Vietnamese Catholic follower will always strive to contribute to the goal of a wealthy people, a strong country, and a democratic, equitable and civilised society.
At the event, deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Mass Mobilisation Thao Xuan Sung extended his greetings to priests and clergymen and hailed the contributions of the committee.
He voiced his hope that the CSVC’s sub-committees at all levels will well maintain their social campaigns, improve their operations, better fufill secular and religious lives, and encourage followers to join hands in national construction and defence.
Japan funds education, healthcare projects
Japan has committed US$853,211 in non-refundable aid to eight education and healthcare projects in Vietnam.
Japanese Consul General Hida Harumitsu announced the amount after signing a document to implement these projects, in HCM City on December 17.
The school construction projects receiving funding are Duc Linh District’s Duc Tin 1 Primary School in Binh Thuan province, Di Linh District’s Bao Thuan Primary School in Lam Dong province, Tuy Phong District’s Hoa Minh Kindergarten and Primary School in Binh Thuan province, and Tieu Can District’s Tan Hoa Primary School in Tra Vinh province.
Part of the money will fund medical equipment purchases and upgrades for Phung Hiep District’s general hospital in Hau Giang province, Tan Hong District’s general hospital in Dong Thap province, and Bu Dop district’s general hospital in Binh Phuoc province.
Water supply systems will also be installed for Vinh Binh Village in Vinh Hung district, Long An province.
Harumitsu said the eight projects were judged the most worthy recipients among the applicants for Japanese non-refundable aid. He said he hopes the funding will be effectively deployed to improve the lives of local people.
Legal aid helps protect migrant workers
Vietnam has made significant efforts over the years to protect over 500,000 Vietnamese labourers working in more than 40 countries and territories.
The view was shared by experts at a conference in Hanoi on December 17 to mark International Migrants Day (December 18).
Vietnamese migrant workers are employed in a range of different positions and industries including manufacturing, construction, garment making, and domestic labour. Most have a measure of stability and rights protection incorporated into their employment contracts.
Some migrant workers are vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse with no recourse to legal aid.
Vietnam is a signatory to the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. It affirms the rights of migrant workers to expose abuse and receive help.
The conference summarised the action plan and proposals devised at the 6th ASEAN Migrant Forum in Brunei, and reviewed the progress made in realising the recommendations in national legislation.
Participants also discussed legal counselling for migrant workers and making the process for registering formal complaints against ASEAN employers less onerous for migrant workers themselves.
Immunisation funding to be cut
Health experts might limit the number of participants in the national immunisation programme or reduce the available vaccines, as funds will be reduced by 40 per cent next year.
Funds supplied by the State for the programme next year will total VND144 billion (US$6.8 million). If the programme does not receive other assistance, available funds will only meet 24 per cent of the demand and would seriously affect the programme’s targets, norms and international commitments, according to experts.
According to Professor Nguyen Tran Hien, director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and chairman of the programme, with the limited fund, the programme could not proceed with the fourth booster doses against diphtheria, whooping-cough and tetanus, as well as the second booster doses against measles for 18-month-old children.
Also, the programme cuts will mean reducing the doses provided to protect against Japanese encephalitis B by 70 per cent and reduce cholera and typhoid vaccinations in the affected areas.
“Epidemics can break out in the community, and the main victims will be children and pregnant women,” said Hien.
Further, funds to buy the Quinvaxem vaccine against diphtheria, whooping-cough, tetanus, hepatitis B and meningitis will be cut by 20 per cent.
The programme also is not providing funding to repair equipment to maintain vaccines and carry out other work, including training courses on vaccinations, dissemination of information, supervision and transportation of vaccines.
Deputy Director of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Planning and Finance Nguyen Quang An said the ministry had organised a conference to consider how to arrange funds for different health programmes, including that on national immunisation.
The ministry had sought to call for other funding sources for the programme, such as from projects and international organisations, he said.
The ministry also submitted a document to the Government in which it proposed a special fund for four health programmes. The national immunisation programme would receive the first preference for funding, followed by tuberculosis, malaria and dengue fever, said An.
However, some parents seemed not to care about the shortage of the programme’s fund.
Nguyen Minh Hoa, who lives in Ha Noi’s Dong Da District, said that if the programme lacked vaccines, she would participate in the immunisation services for her children.
If she uses the immunisation services she will have to pay VND100,000-500,000 (US$4.7-23) for each dose, whereas she does not pay anything if she use vaccines made available through the programme.
“I have to spend some money, but I will not be worried about vaccine shortages,” she said.
The fund shortage will affect children and mothers in poor rural areas only, Hoa said.
The national im-munisation programme has been conducted in the country for 25 years. The beneficiaries are children from new born to 3 years old and women of child-bearing ages between 16 and 35 years old.
Central provinces target unsafe roads
The transport departments of central Da Nang City and Quang Ngai Province have joined forces for operating a safe bus route between the two localities.
The move is expected to help curb traffic accidents and over-speeding on the route.
Nguyen Xuan Ba, Deputy Director of Da Nang City’s Transport Department, confirmed the news for Viet Nam News on Thursday.
Overloaded 16-seater vans speeding over 100 kilometers an hour had become a common sight on the 130 kilometer-stretch during the past several years, which had resulted in many accidents and rendered passenger travel unsafe.
“We have agreed to strictly supervise the vans travelling between Da Nang and Quang Ngai. We have also installed a Global Positioning System (GPS) in all vans travelling on the route, as well as in vehicles managing the services of all vans,” Ba stated.
“The new route under surveillance, which became operational in October, saw 48 vans travelling between the two locations at a safe and controllable speed of 50 kilometers per hour,” he revealed.
He added that four bus stops and ticket stalls have also been added to the route for the convenience of commuters.
The Deputy Head of Quang Ngai Province’s Safe Traffic Board, Le Hai, reiterated that the new regulations and surveillance of the route will help put a stop to over-speeding and the practice of plying overloaded vehicles on the road.
Earlier, 16-seater vans used to habitually speed on the route in order to pick up as many passengers as they could.
A regular commuter pointed out that almost all vans carried nearly double the number of passengers than required for profit.
Following the agreement between the two transportation departments, vans will receive support for the GPS installation, as well as financial assistance.
Le Chi Thanh, Director of the Quang Ngai-based Thong Nhat transport co-operative, noted that the agreement would also guarantee profits for van owners and drivers with stable vehicles and safe passengers.
According to data, 16-seater vans are involved in 80 per cent of the accidents on the route between Quang Ngai-Da Nang and Quy Nhon-Da Nang.
Some 77 accidents have occurred in Quang Ngai province during the first six months this year, killing 75 people and wounding 42 others.
Denmark helps Vietnam slash rural poverty rate
More than 1 million Vietnamese farmers and families have benefited from a six-year project on agriculture and rural development jointly launched by the Vietnamese and Danish Governments, the Danish Embassy announced on December 16.
The 42 million USD project, starting from 2007, came to the northern mountainous provinces of Dien Bien, Lai Chau and Lao Cai, and the Central Highlands provinces of Dak Lak and Dak Nong.
With the aim to accelerate sustainable growth through advances in natural resource management, agricultural production and market, the project targeted poor famers in remote areas, especially women and ethnic groups.
According to Danish Ambassador to Vietnam John Nielsen, thanks to the project, the poverty rate in the five localities have dropped from 25 percent in 2007 to 10 percent-12 percent this year.
At least 70,000 poor households in the targeted provinces have had their food security and income improved, he added.
Through the Danish Government’s support, poor farmers among ethnic groups are helped to benefit from the development policy, the diplomat said.
Ministry asks tax, customs, treasury departments to work weekends
The Ministry of Finance has just sent a circular to all tax, customs, and finance departments in the country asking to work all days of the week including Saturday and Sunday.
These sectors have been asked to work all seven days of the week, even Saturdays and Sundays, to facilitate clearance of all tax payments and finish the state budget revenue plan for 2013. Moreover, more working hours will ease difficulties arising in tax payment procedures.
HCM City’s anti-flooding project sees capital multiply
HCMC’s anti-flooding project, known as Project 1547, has seen its capital revised up from VND11 trillion to VND57.8 trillion since it was announced five years ago, although most parts of the project remain incomplete.
Nguyen Ngoc Cong, deputy director of the Steering Center for Anti-flooding Program, said the project includes main works such as the 149-kilomter dyke along the Saigon River and nine floodtide sewers. It is expected to solve flooding caused by floodtide and heavy rains in the city.
Up to now, only 31 out of 149 kilometers of dyke and one out of nine sewers have been completed.
Explaining the capital adjustment for the project to the People’s Council deputies on Wednesday, Cong said that wrong initial calculations for site clearance, compensation and material purchase were the cause of the problem.
The city government is calling for investment for the remaining works of the project.
Deputy Vo Van Sen said that flooding in the city has worsened. While the city has eliminated nine flooding points this year, up to 12 new points have showed up, proving that the flood control program has been ineffective.
However, Cong said that new flooding points have arisen because of poor construction of the environment improvement project along the Tan Hoa-Lo Gom canal, not heavy rains or floodtide. Currently, there are still eight flooding points along the canal.
If the environment project at Tan Hoa-Lo Gom is complete in the third quarter of 2014, these eight flooding points will be eliminated.
Given climate change, the city between now and 2020 will have to invest in around 1,500 more kilometers of sewers to cope with flooding, Cong said.
Tat Thanh Cang, director of the HCMC Department of Transport, said that as 65% of the city’s area has an altitude of less than 1.5 meters above the sea level, the flooding danger is very high.
The city is focusing on building eight sewers such as Tan Thuan and Ben Nghe. The flooding situation will only improve if construction of the sewers is complete, he said.
Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam, chairwoman of the People’s Council, said that flooding has caused adverse impacts on production activities and living standards of residents, so local authorities should speed up anti-flooding projects in the future.
20,000 HCMC students set to join running event
More than 20,000 students from 45 universities and colleges in HCMC will join the ninth student marathon from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sunday at Tan Trao Street in HCMC’s District 7. The event, held by Van Lang University’s Student Association, will include two running categories: 3,000 meters for males and 2,000 meters for females.
The total value of prizes worth VND35 million will be given to the 20 best runners in each category: the school having the most participants; three faculties having the most participants and three team prizes. Each student who runs in the required time, 25 minutes for males and 20 minutes for females, will be awarded the title ‘Healthy youngster 2013.’
Quang Nam Province sanctions VND35 billion for rebuilding bridge
The People’s Committee in the central province of Quang Nam has sanctioned VND35 billion (US$1,659,700) for rebuilding of a bridge in Nui Thanh District, which was destroyed in the storm last November.
This had caused great inconvenience for local residents of Hoa Binh and Hoa An villages to cross the river. As a result, during heavy rains, students in Hoa An village had to stay at home or be escorted by border guards from Tam Thanh Station, who deployed canoes to transport students to schools.
The rebuilding of the bridge was therefore most essential, especially for commuting during the flood season.
Japan finances two education projects
The Japanese Embassy on December 11 signed a contract on the provision of a non-refundable aid of US$736,851 for two education projects in Viet Nam.
The first project, worth US$219,927, aims to enhance the educational capacity and mitigate natural calamity impacts for schools and coastal community in central Quang Nam Province.
The second one, valued at US$516,924, is aimed at improving primary education for ethnic minorities at three Northern and Central provinces of Ha Giang, Quang Binh and Quang Ngai.
Skills of English teachers substandard
The English skills of many domestic teachers in Vietnam still fail to meet requirements, though a national foreign language scheme has been in place for three years.
Students that are not specialised in foreign languages often have weak English skills when they first enter university, but many universities have high graduation requirements, making it important for teachers to train students even though their majors may not be in foreign languages.
On December 11, officials from the Ministry of Education and Training gathered in Danang to discuss the problems and shortcomings of the national foreign language 2020 project.
The project management committee said as of September 30, about 97% primary school teachers and 90% high school teachers in 42 provinces and cities still failed to meet the requirements.
Nguyen Hoang, deputy head of Nghe An Province Department of Education and Training said, “Teachers’ skills were very limited before the project was implemented, but since they have become more active and hard-working.”
Meanwhile, the representative from Haiphong City Department of Education and Training said the focus should be put on primary school teachers. Listening and speaking are two most important skills for primary school students but teachers often lack these skills themselves.
The experts agreed that the government should place priority on building a coherent testing framework for both teachers and students.
Deputy Minister of Finance Nguyen Thi Minh, suggested hiring overseas consultants to assess English language skills in Vietnamem. However the vice head of Hanoi University disagreed, saying that what was needed was more accurate testing tools.
Vietnam-Oz project helps over 200,000 eye patients
Over 200,000 visually impaired patients in the central province of Quang Nam have received check-ups and treatment under the Vietnam-Australia Vision Support Programme (VAVSP) between July 2011 and December 2013.
It was revealed at a meeting in the locality on December 17 to review the programme which is underway in districts of Que Son, Hiep Duc, Duy Xuyen and Tien Phuoc.
Of the patients, over 1,500 underwent cataract surgeries. More than 900 medical workers in communes, districts and schools have accessed professional training, offering examinations to around 47,000 students in 56 schools.
The Australian Government-funded project via the Fred Hollows Foundation in Vietnam has helped the province with relevant planning, management and comprehensive eye care, district-level capability enhancement, and lessons in national policymaking.
Deputy Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Huynh Khanh Toan said in the coming time, Quang Nam will build on the success of the programme so that the poor and ethnic minority communities are able to benefit from eye care services.
The province, at the same time, will improve the skills of medical staff in districts and buy more advanced healthcare equipment.-
Phu Tho to get 2.7 million USD for water supply improvement
The northern midland province of Phu Tho will receive over 58 billion VND (2.72 million USD) to upgrade its water supply and sanitation in rural areas in 2014.
The amount will come from the World Bank and the national target programme for rural water supply and sanitation, said Ha Ke San, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.
During 2014, two projects to supply clean water to local people in six communes in Ha Hoa and Thanh Thuy districts will be carried out, while 20 water supply facilities will be installed in schools and 13 others in healthcare stations.
The provincial rural clean water and sanitation programme is to meet the clean water demand of the local community in a full and sustainable way, and raise their awareness of the importance of clean water and hygiene.
It also focuses on enhancing capacity of communes and villages in making plans and managing infrastructure works, and supporting locals’ initiatives in the field, the provincial official said.
In 2013, Phu Tho started work on three water supply systems with a designed capacity of 8,800 cubic meter of water per day for 11 communes. As many as 1,420 sanitation toilets were built.-
Tien Giang aids residents in adapting to climate change
The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang has evacuated 236 households from flood-hit and landslide-prone areas in Cai Be and Tan Phuoc districts.
The evacuation, with a total funding of around 4 billion VND (188,000 USD), aims to resettle those residents in safer places when the province is among the localities in the Mekong delta region most vulnerable to climate change.
Apart from the effort, the province has invested over 85 billion VND (3.99 million USD) to treat 248 landslide-hit areas with a total length of 15,000 metres since 2005.
So far, the province has had 152 areas with high risk of landslide.
Climate change affects marine and coastal ecosystems through a gradual process, notably an increase in temperature, changes in salinity levels, acidity, turbidity and loss of habitat due to higher sea levels.
Vietnam is one of the five countries most vulnerable to climate change while the Mekong Delta region, Vietnam ‘s rice granary, is among the three large deltas in the world worst hit by it.
Scientists forecast that if the sea level rises by one metre, about 70 percent of land in the Mekong Delta region will be intruded by saltwater and Vietnam will lose two million hectares of farmland and many coastal localities will be inundated.
Vietnam has exerted efforts to deal with the issue as climate change is also taken into consideration in the country’s socio-economic development plans and strategies.-
Universities reluctantly move to independent entrance exams
Even though the Ministry of Education and Training has agreed to let universities hold their own entrance exams next year, many universities expressed reluctance.
Around 17 private universities have submitted their enrollment plans to the ministry. The Deputy Minister of Education and Training, Bui Van Ga, said, “Public schools are reluctant because they don’t lack students, yet they will face certain risks by holding independent exams.”
The Deputy head of Hanoi School of Business and Technology, said, “Universities will have to shoulder huge cost. In addition, the results of those exams aren’t valid for every college and university, it can only be used for the schools that have agreed on the same plans. It’s a high risk.”
Some people worried about adverse impacts, such as some universities setting lower standards to increase revenue.
Among public schools, only Vietnam National University of Hanoi has tried to pilot this programme on small-scale. Bui Duc Hien,from Electric Power University, said they would face huge disadvantages because students did not fully support this programme.
Head of Hoa Binh University, Dang Ung Van, also said, “Universities still have no idea about the number of students who will participate in their exams and it’s possible that many of them won’t enroll. Normally, only students with weak abilities enroll into private universities.”
Recently, private universities have been complaining that, with the same scores from national university entrance exam, administrated by the Ministry of Education and Training, students are likely to choose the schools that are cheaper. Several experts said they should be allowed to recruit students who have lower scores than required.
Many think that the ministry agreed to this programme because it wants to help private universities who are failing to recruit. Ga said, “The laws on higher education states that universities must independently build their enrollment plans, so we’re also changing the recruitment methods.”
Almost 20 percent population infected with Hepatitis B
Dr. Nguyen Huu Chi, President of HCMC Liver and Gall Bladder Association and Deputy Manager of Infectious Disease Department at the City Medical University said at the 5th Annual Hepatitis Symposium organized by Roche Vietnam that almost 10-20 percent of the population in the country is infected with Hepatitis B virus.
Dr. Chi added that most of the patients don’t show any symptoms until their liver is seriously damaged. Therefore, treatment and cure in the last stages of the disease proves very costly.
Roche Diagnostics, the world’s leading vitro diagnostics company, reaffirmed its commitment to the management of Hepatitis in Vietnam at the Symposium.
The role of early diagnosis and ongoing monitoring during treatment was a key topic of discussion by more than 500 healthcare professionals and other experts at the Symposium, organized by the Liver and Gall Bladder Association and Roche Diagnostics Vietnam.
In addition to monitoring treatment, HBsAg quantitative tests in combination with HBV DNA testing can distinguish dormant carriers from those showing visible symptoms of the disease, thereby defining more clearly who requires therapy and frequent monitoring and who does not.
VND46 billion project approved to improve food safety awareness
The Government has approved a project on strengthening education and communication on food safety to support the deployment of the Law on Food Safety and the National Strategy in the 2011-2020 period.
The project is implemented during 2013-2016 with a total budget of over VND46 billion (US$2.2 million), of which US$2 million sourced from ODA funds by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.
The scheme is expected to raise consumers’ awareness on food hygiene and improve ethics of food producers and businesses towards protecting people’s health.
It also aims to enhance capacity and skills for professional staff responsible for food safety management and communication collaborators via training courses at all levels.
In addition, the project targets to strengthen co-ordination and integration of communication strategies on food safety into nutrition, agricultural and rural development programmes, the public education system, and other related community programmes to promote the efficient use of human resources, information and fundings in conveying the messages on food safety to each target group.
Techno Japan 2013 kicks off in Hanoi
Local and foreign scientists and businesspeople are gathering at an exhibition on Japanese technology and investment (Techno Japan 2013) in Hanoi from December 16-18.
The event creates a good chance for Japanese businesses to introduce their latest scientific and technological achievements in information, energy, space, biology and the environment, as well as study Vietnam’s investment policies, said Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan.
Along with Techno Japan 2013, the third international exhibition on security and safety is being held in the capital to help local businesses enhance their capacity in the field for sustainable economic development, especially in the light of global integration.
A number of workshops related to the field will take place during the two exhibitions, helping businesses seek partners and investment opportunities.
Jointly organised by the National Agency for Science and Information Technology under the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the General Department of Logistics and Technology under the Ministry of Public Security, the two exhibitions are part of activities to mark the 40th anniversary of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic ties.