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Old July 6th, 2009, 09:41 PM
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Post Health in Brief

Over 45 trillion VND spent to build and upgrade hospitals

The Prime Minister has agreed to pour over 45 trillion VND (2.5 billion USD) in a project to build and upgrade hospitals in mountainous and remote areas from now to 2013.

The funding will be mobilised from government bonds, local budget and official development assistance (ODA).

The project will help build 78 central and provincial general hospitals, 55 tuberculosis hospitals, 40 mental hospitals and centres, 33 paediatrics and obstetric hospitals, nine tumour hospitals, seven tumour departments in general hospitals, the National Institute for Infectious and Tropical Diseases and the Can Tho Pharmaceutical and Medical University.

The Ministry of Health is assigned to manage the project.

Heath ministry pledges more investment in women

Despite the economic crisis, the Health Ministry has pledged not to cut back on investment in women, for the sake of their health, their children’s health, and that of the entire population.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Ba Thuy made this statement at a July 2 press briefing on local activities in response to World Population Day 2009 (July 11).

According to statistics, the average maternal mortality rate in 2008 was 75 deaths per 100,000 live births, and even higher in remote and mountainous areas. To achieve the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on maternal health, Vietnam has set a target of reducing this ratio to 60/100,000 by 2010 in its 2006-2010 socio-economic development plan, said the health official. He added that by 2015, the rate will be reduced by three quarters in fulfilment of MDG commitments.

Over the years, thanks to the implementation of important social policies in family planning, the norm of a small-sized family has become more and more widely accepted, and the average number of children per woman of child-bearing age has reached the replacement level of fertility, helping to lift the pressure of population growth on socio-economic development.

However, Vietnam is confronting huge challenges in maintaining these achievements, Deputy Minister Thuy said, citing the increased maternal mortality rate, especially in remote and disadvantaged areas in recent time.

Adding to this is a large population size, about 86.5 million people, making Vietnam the 13 th most populous country in the world; an unstable decline in birth rates; a high population density, at 257 people/, six times the world average; and an imbalance in the sex ratio at birth--112 males/100 females.

Even after steady improvement, the country’s human development index (HDI) is still at a low level, at 0.733 points, ranking 105/177 countries in the world. A number of factors compound the problem: high rate of malnutrition, high risk for epidemics, particularly reproductive tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS infections.

Last but not least, the traditional mind-set of having a large family, and that a son is a must to continue the blood line is still common place, he said.

A representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Bruce Campbell, praised Vietnam ’s progress in reproductive health and family planning, which, he said, is attributable to the joint efforts of the Government and development partners. He added that the free health care policy for children under the age of six demonstrated the Vietnamese Government’s strong commitment to improving child and maternal health.

This year’s World Population Day is themed “Responding to the Economic Crisis: Investing in Women’s Health is a Smart Choice.” In this spirit, Campbell cautioned Vietnam not to reduce health investment as it would then take longer and require more resources to get back to the pre-crisis level of health standards.

Better health care under way for remote regions

The Prime Minister has approved a scheme to build and upgrade provincial hospitals and clinics in mountainous regions nationwide in the 2009-2013 period.

The initiative is expected to help poor people in rural, remote and mountainous areas access high-quality medical services, reduce the overload at central hospitals and build the capacity of medical staff.

An investment of about 45.28 trillion VND, sourced from Government bonds, the local State budget and official development assistance will be required.

The plan includes the construction and upgrade of 78 central and provincial general hospitals, 55 tuberculosis clinics, 40 mental health centres and hospitals, 33 paediatrics and obstetrics hospitals, nine tumour hospitals, seven tumour departments of provincial and city general hospitals, the National Institute of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases and the Can Tho Medicine and Pharmaceutical University .

The four-phases, plan will focus on tuberculosis and mental health hospitals from now until 2011, tumour, obstetrics and paediatric hospitals from now until 2012, provincial general hospitals and the Can Tho Medicine and Pharmaceutical University from now until 2013 and the National Institute of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases from 2010 until 2013.

Source: VietNamNet/VNA
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