Hanoi tightens supervision on private health clinics

Ha Noi People's Committee has urged authorities to increase supervision over the operation of private health clinics.

Municipal health authorities recently closed down about 110 of the clinics after inspections revealed many medical violations.

Many district and commune officials said they were puzzled about the management of the clinics, said the Committee's Vice-chairwoman Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc at a workshop on Tuesday.

Inspectors from the municipal health department visited 771 private health and pharmaceutical establishments and fined 371 a total of more than VND 3.4 billion (US$142,800), according to the department's deputy director, Nguyen Van Yen.

He said as many as 110 private health clinics were suspended.

Vice Chairman of Hai Ba Trung District's People's Committee Cap Sy Phong said a shortage of medical inspectors made it difficult to regularly inspect all establishments.

The district's Health Office had only two officials in charge of private health, but they had to cover 600 clinics and establishments, he said.

Phong proposed the municipal health department increase co-operation and guidance to help them.

Vice-chairwoman of Dong Da District's Ha Thi Le Nhung said the lack of a legal framework for punishing violators was another challenge.

Vice-chairwoman of the municipal People's Committee Ngoc admitted that the number of private healthcare clinics was rising, but the number of medical inspectors were the same.

JICA provides assistance in road maintenance

The second phase of the Project for Capacity Enhancement in Road Maintenance will commence in December with financial and technical support from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), according to a document signed between the Ministry of Transport and JICA in Hanoi on November 5.

At the signing ceremony, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong highlighted the need for the sustainable maintenance and management of Vietnam ’s road system, saying that the country’s transport system was a crucial foundation for economic development.

In phase 2, the project will focus on improving the property management system (PMS) for national roads via pilot projects with standardised criteria and action plans.

Other objectives include building the capacity of management staff and providing technical assistance for project implementation.

Phase 1 of the project ran from September 2011 to April 2014.

The project is part of the Agreement on Technical Cooperation signed in 1998 and the Exchange Note signed between the two countries in July this year.

Storm, flood-resistant houses built for the poor in Phu Yen

The People’s Committee of southern central Phu Yen province has asked its authorities by November 30 to finalise the list of poor households receiving housing support under a government decree.

The province strives to provide the support to 20 percent of the targeted households in 2014 and complete the programme in the next two years.

Under the government decree on support poor households to build storm and flood-resistant houses, each poor household in different areas will receive from 12 million to 16 million VND (571-762 USD) and can access to loans worth up to 15 million VND (714 USD) at an annual interest rate of 3 percent in 10 years from the Bank for Social Policies.

In 2013, the province piloted to build 100 flood-resistant houses for needy households in An Dinh and An Dan communes of Tuy An district, Xuan Son Nam and Xuan Son Bac communes in Dong Xuan district.

Ha Long 2014 Run to kick off

The Ha Long 2014 Run for Love of Sea and Islands will kick off on November 29 in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

The event is part of activities to mark 20th anniversary of Ha Long Bay’s recognition as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.

The highlight of the event is the participation of 500 couples running on a road of “Sac mau hanh phuc” (the Colour of Happiness) that shows their love and resolve to set up their business on the country’s islands.

The run is call on individuals and organisations to support the construction of projects on Tran island of Co To island district in Quang Ninh.

Vietnamese people’s association in Czech Republic meets

A meeting of the Vietnamese People’s Association in the Czech Republic Executive Committee was held in Prague on November 4 to discuss its activities and programmes in the coming time.

Hoang Dinh Thang was reelected as Chairman of the association for term 2014-2016.

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to the Czech Republic Truong Manh Son highlighted the role of the association and its chapters in connecting the Vietnamese community, and suggested the association further expand its activities with focus on students and young people.

During the meeting, participants discussed measures to boost the association’s activities, including preparations for the 15th anniversary of its establishment, and celebrations for 65th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the Czech Republic (February, 2015).

In recent times, the association in collaboration with other organisations organised a series of events such as the first meeting on mass mobilisation work of the Vietnamese community in Europe in on August 17-18 in Prague, Moon festival and outstanding student honouring ceremony, and art programmes to mark the 60th anniversary of Hanoi Liberation Day (October 10,1954-2014).

There are over 65,000 overseas Vietnamese living in the Czech Republic.

The Vietnamese Community in the Czech Republic has been recognised as an ethnic minority since August 2013.

Quang Ngai prepares for thermal power plant construction

More than 2,160 households with 7,200 people in Binh Dong commune, Binh Son district, the central province of Quang Ngai, will be relocated to provide space for the construction of the Dung Quat thermal power plant.

The information was announced at a briefing held in the commune on November 4.

The displaced people will receive 935.5 billion VND (over 44.5 million USD) as financial support while their resettlement areas will be built at a cost 692 billion VND (over 32.9 million USD).

The Dung Quat thermal power plant in Binh Dong will cover 74ha in the western area of the Dung Quat shipbuilding factory, forming part of the multi-sectoral Dung Quat Economic Zone.

The plant, worth more than 2 billion USD, is invested by Singapore’s Sembcorp Utilities Pte under the BOT (build-operate-transfer) model, said Ha Duc Thang, deputy head of the zone’s management board.

With a design capacity of 1,200MW, it will generate 7 billion kWh of electricity when fully operational from March 2021 onwards. The first turbine will start operating commercially in September 2020, he added.

The plant’s construction is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2016.-

Quang Nam constructs sea dyke

Over 200m of steel embankment was completed in the central province of Quang Nam as an urgent intervention to prevent tidal waves from encroaching on Cua Dai beach.

The steel embankment is also reinforced with sand sacks to manage tidal waves and protect coastal properties.

Hoi An city is accelerating the construction of another 500m of steel embankment before this year’s raining season.

Hoi An’s Party Committee Secretary Nguyen said that even though the province and city has invested in different types of dykes to hold back strong tides and waves, erosion is continuing to affect the locality.

The city will consult experts and research all available options to find the most effective and sustainable solution, he said, adding that the Central level should provide the necessary support.

Hoi An city comprises a 7km coastline, including a number of beaches that are popular with tourists. So far, a 714m dyke system has been completed. However, the dyke system is not comprehensive enough, resulting in water levels encroaching upon the coastal street, threatening local tourism and residents’ day-to-day lives.

High-skilled workers needed to accelerate industrialisation

Vietnam needs competent technicians and engineers who could produce high-quality goods and ensure operational efficiency in a bid to increase the country’s economic competitiveness, Head of the Economic Board of the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam, Nagai Katsuro, said in a workshop in Hanoi on November 4.

The Vietnamese Government has adopted a number of policies and implemented projects to develop human resources. However, the supply in high-skilled human resources does not meet the labour market’s demands, which is a pressing concern, Cao Van Sam, Deputy Director of the General Vocational Training Department, said.

Effective cooperation between the State, businesses and workers would even out the discrepancies and accelerate industrialisation and economic integration, which both rely on value-added products and strong support industries, Sam suggested.

In order to become a highly skilled economy, it is necessary to establish social partnerships between different stakeholders, including vocational training institutions, industry, and the Government, according to the Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Mori Mutsuya.

JICA expert Junichi Mori explained that reducing the imbalance between the demand and supply of skilled labour required the suppliers to focus on the particular skills needed in each industrial sector. Furthermore, proposals should be made by research institutes and international donors for capacity building programmes.

The Government needs to provide more support for businesses to develop human resources training programmes, which should be updated in terms of content and the specific skills required, he added.

The workshop was jointly organised by JICA and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

Talk on Mekong Delta’s sustainable environment management

Experts from Holland, Germany and Australia shared their countries’ expertise and experience on sustainable environment management in coastal areas with a view to applying for the Mekong Delta region at a dialogue held in Can Tho City on November 4.

The event was co-organised by the Steering Committee for the Southwest Region and the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang in collaboration with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Integrated Coastal Management Programme (ICMP), as part of activities in the framework of the Mekong Delta Economic Development (MDEC) Forum now underway in Soc Trang.

Among 13 Mekong Delta provinces, seven are located along the coastline. In recent years, coastal areas are facing serious environmental challenges, particularly the shrinking of mangrove forests, salt water intrusion and waste discharge from aquaculture.

Domestic and foreign experts analysed the current environmental conditions in the Mekong Delta’s coastal areas and explained the approaches to the issue adopted by other countries. They proposed solutions to the existing problems in managing coastal areas in Vietnam and how to efficiently learn from international experiences in this field.

Participants were also polled about an inter-province mechanism to carry out an integrated protection programme for coastal areas and mangrove ecology in the Mekong Delta.

The dialogue outlined a coordination mechanism between Mekong Delta localities, the Southwestern Steering Committee, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the GIZ to facilitate cooperation projects in the time ahead.

Deputy PM urges more investment in grassroots health care

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc emphasised the need for more investment in grassroots healthcare services, especially in disadvantaged localities.

Deputy PM Phuc made this appeal during a ceremony in Cao Ky commune, Cho Moi district in Bac Kan province on November 5 to officially launch the construction of a medical station, the first of 70 health clinics for disadvantaged communes in the northwestern region.

The well-equipped facility will cost over 5 billion VND (238,000 USD), with 3.5 billion VND provided by the EU as non-refundable aid.

The Deputy PM reminded the health sector to send more doctors to remote areas and provide incentives for medical staff who choose to work there.

The Ministry of Health should seek investments in healthcare improvements at the grassroots level and closely supervise the construction of clinics to avoid wastefulness, he said.

To improve the quality of health services in the northwestern region, the ministry proposed the Government allocate more than 310 billion VND from the EU’s non-refundable aid to the construction of 89 medical stations in communes facing particularly challenging conditions, including 70 health clinics in 14 northern mountainous provinces, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said.

Deputy PM Phuc and Minister Tien also presented 500 gifts to poor residents in Cao Ky commune, where 98 percent of the population is comprised of ethnic minorities.

That same day, the General Hospital in Thai Nguyen province sent 50 doctors and nurses to provide free check-ups and medicine for people in Cao Ky commune.

Latest IT applications unveiled in Ho Chi Minh City

Top experts from Vietnam and countries around the world presented the latest applications used in information technology at an international conference in Ho Chi Minh City on November 5.

The ongoing 13 th international conference on computer information systems and industrial management applications (CISIM) 2014, the first of its kind in Vietnam , is a platform for scientists, businesses and government bodies to explore opportunities to jointly conduct studies and training courses, and transfer technology.

Scientists submitted 60 papers featuring the theory and practice of algorithms, biometrics, data analysis and research, optimisation, image recognition and processing, and computer security.

The three-day event, organised by Ton Duc Thang University, IT4Innovations National Supercomputer Centre in the Czech Republic and the International Federation for Information Processing, also comprises a roundtable on research and training led by professors from Central and Eastern European and Vietnamese universities.

A PhD sandwich degree will also be launched, which is a joint effort between Ton Duc Thang University and several Central and Eastern European universities.

Int’l organisation supports eye care for old people

Helen Keller International (HKI) – in coordination with the Hanoi Department of Health (DoH) is implementing an eye care project for old people in Quoc Oai district from now to the end of 2015.

Accordingly, it will offer eye exams for more than 10,000 old people and far-sighted glasses for around 4,500 of them. Private eyeglasses makers in Hanoi will also be trained within the project’s framework.

The pilot project funded by Grand Challenges Canada is aimed at improving vision for people over 45 years old in Vietnam.

Helen Keller International has operated in Vietnam since 1990. It has assisted the health sector in training medical workers, providing equipment and facilities and developing training manual for primary eye care.

Agricultural restructuring aims to increase farmers' incomes


The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development plans to restructure the agricultural sector in the Mekong Delta to increase farmers' incomes and make higher quality products.

Government officials and agricultural experts attending the Mekong Delta Economic Co-operation Soc Trang Forum on November 5 agreed that it was essential to restructure the sector and link it to the national "new rural-area" programme.

Though Vietnam is the one of the world's top rice exporters, many of its farmers remain poor.

In recent years, the country has provided training to farmers to help them increase yields, but the processing sector and the volume of raw material input has not done as well.

Under restructuring, production chains would be established which would help enterprises, farmers and scientists work more efficiently.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat, who spoke at the forum, said that agricultural restructuring would enhance economic growth and create sustainable higher incomes for farmers.

"Building new rural areas and restructuring agriculture depends on farmers. Even adapting to climate change and rising sea levels, farmers must be part of the process," Phat said.

Restructuring should focus on the delta's strengths - rice, fruit, and seafood, he added.

He said that farmers need more instruction in advanced techniques, including the use of new rice strains that give better rice quality. Also, it is essential to transfer technologies so that farmers can increase yields, he added.

Although farmers have been encouraged to grow other crops of high economic value on their paddy fields, rice paddies will remain the stronghold of Vietnamese agriculture.

Forum attendees said that cultivation of other crops would be beneficial but that it must be determined by the market.

Minister Phat pointed out that An Giang Province should continue to focus on paddy and Tra fish but it should also grow other crops.

"An Giang is the leader in applying the large-scale farm model. However, there should be closer linkages between raw material producers, processing companies, enterprises that buy products and farmers," Phat said, adding that linkage between localities in Mekong Delta was also essential.

Professor Vo Tong Xuan said that nearly 70% of raw materials for the agricultural sector still needed to be imported.

The industrial and service sectors have also not given sufficient support to the agricultural sector, he added.

Xuan said Vietnamese farmers and enterprises lack thorough understanding about the market.

"Farmers are still poor even though we are top rice exporter," Xuan said, adding that better production chains would help improve farmers' incomes.

The need to reform the sector is urgent, as the ASEAN Economic Community (to begin next year), the Trans Pacific Partnership (currently under negotiation) and other free trade agreements under negotiation will all change the trading landscape.

"With the demand for higher quality, lower prices, delivery deadlines and better products, farmers cannot do everything themselves," Xuan said.

The Mekong Delta produces 90% of the country's rice exports, 60% of seafood exports, and 70% of the country's fruit.

MDEC is a cooperative activity between the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region, the National Committee for International Economic Co-operation, Vietnamese ministries, HCM City People's Committee and the Mekong Delta's provinces and major cities.

HCM City: Dengue fever in peak season

The dengue fever outbreak has reached its peak in Ho Chi Minh City, with the number of patients contracting the mosquito-born disease rising to 3,000 in the first 9 months of this year, resulting in five deaths.

The HCM City Preventive Medicine Department reported that dengue fever broke out during the rainy season lasting from August to the end of October. In October alone, more than 1,000 people were hospitalised with syndrome of the tropical disease, mostly in Hoc Mon, Thu Duc, Binh Chanh and Tan Binh districts.

The Department’s statistics also showed a sudden increase in the number of hand-foot-mouth patients over the past two months with as many as 300 people hospitalised a week. The number of patients in the first 9 months of this year was up around 20% from a year earlier.

However, measles cases saw a decline in recent months, with about 15 patients being hospitalized weekly.

Dr. Nguyen Tri Dung, Director of the HCM City Preventive Medicine Department, said tougher measures will be taken to keep the two infectious diseases – dengue fever and hand-foot-mouth – under control.

Vietnam’s Cam Ranh airport to have new runway funded by $47mn loan

The administration of the south-central province of Khanh Hoa will add a new runway to its Cam Ranh airport to enable the facility to handle more international flights slated for launch next year, the provincial chairman said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has allowed the Khanh Hoa administration to mobilize VND1 trillion (US$47.07 million) in capital to build a second runway at Cam Ranh International Airport, according to provincial chairman Nguyen Chien Thang.

The province will borrow loans at preferential interest rates and will repay them by leasing its land and with runway use fees, Thang said.

Construction is expected to start late this year or early 2015, according to the chairman.

Cam Ranh International Airport is 37km, or a 40-minute drive, from Nha Trang, a famed resort city which is also the capital of Khanh Hoa.

Many airlines are eying services connecting Cam Ranh to China, India, and Cambodia next year, according to an airport executive.

These services will use large aircraft so a new runway must be built to be able to receive them, he said.

The airport currently serves international commercial flights carrying Russian and South Korean tourists to visit Nha Trang.

The sole 3,048m runway at the terminal is deteriorating, but the airport cannot close for months to repair it, according to the provincial chairman.

HCM City sees little achievements in urban civilization efforts

To extend urban beautification initiative, the Ho Chi Minh City authority has banned street vendor and parking encroaching the pavements, yet, the city has seen just a few achievements in its urban civilization efforts.

Many peddlers have still set up their pushcarts on roadbeds in April 30 Park  in the city’s downtown, in crowded streets such as  Nguyen Chi Thanh in front of Cho Ray Hospital in District 5; Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in Tao Dan park in District 1; Nguyen Trai Street; Vo Van Tan; Pham Ngu Lao, Le Lai, Le Hong Phong ; Nguyen Dinh Chieu; Truong Chinh.

HCMC vendors who illegally take up space on public pavement are undeterred by low fines.

Local authorities noticed that 100 samples roads  have ensured not to let rampant street vendors and parking to encroach pavements; however, some of them did not conduct well.

As per commitment, local administrators have to zone areas for motorbike and automobile parking, and complete plans of using pavements, installing public toilets, garbage-collection zones and areas for selling newspapers and magazines and souvenirs, and for selling goods at night.

Yet the city has seen just a few achievements in its urban civilization efforts; accordingly, in a meeting with local district authorities, Deputy Chairman of People’s Committee Nguyen Huu Tin criticized them not to be determined in curbing the rampant street vendors and parking encroaching pavements.

District administrators said that most peddlers are immigrants who are not living in permanent address and very poor; so it is hard to impose fines on them.

Police seize 431 smartphones from two women

The Gia Lam district police department has arrested two women for smuggling 431 smartphones.

The police captured one woman named Vu Thi Phuong Hoa, 24, yesterday, and found 385 smartphones of various brands, including Samsung and Apple, in her possession.

Earlier, the police arrested 43-year-old Nguyen Thi Nhung on Monday for smuggling 46 iPhones.

According to the police, Nhung had been hired to transport the phones for VND100,000 to VND 200,000 (US$4.7 to $9.5).

Both women could not show to the police the legal invoices related to the seized goods.

According to the Gia LAm police department, cellphones are being illegally transported from Quang Ninh to Ha Noi and the neighbouring provinces by bus.

The police are conducting further investigations.

Youth get free measles-rubella vaccines

As part of the national campaign to provide the combined measles-rubella vaccine, more than 150,000 children aged 10 to 14 in HCM City have received shots, according to Dr Nguyen Tri Dung, head of the city's Preventive Health Centre.

The campaign, which began on October 1 and will end in March, is divided into three phases, said Dung, who spoke at a meeting between the city's Health Department and district medical facilities yesterday in HCM City.

During the campaign's first phase, the vaccine will be provided to children aged 10 to 14, and during the second phase between children aged 6 to 10. Children aged 1 to 5 will be vaccinated during the third campaign.

HCM City expects to provide the vaccine to more than 1.3 million children aged 1 to 14.

There have been no reports of any children having a serious reaction to the vaccine, said Dung.

Dung also spoke about the hike in the number of cases of hand, foot and mouth disease last month, with 11,235 patients. This is an increase of 59 per cent compared to the same period last year.

In the first nine months of the year, there were 5,382 cases, he added.

Most of the cases were reported in districts of 3, 7, 12, Tan Binh, Binh Thanh and Tan Phu.

Dung asked medical staff in city districts to strengthen preventive measures and raise public awareness of the disease in their localities.

Median strips pose danger to drivers in capital city

Concrete median strips on some roads in Ha Noi not only fail to divide opposing lanes of traffic, but they have become a hazard, causing accidents and traffic jams.

Tran Duc, who lives in Giai Phong Street in Dong Da District, said the 10 metre long median strips were far apart, leaving many gaps.

Many accidents happened because vehicles hit against the crooked median strip. Traffic jams occurred, especially at peak hours, because the strip did not divide the lane well.

Nguyen Quang Thang, driver of a private transport company, said that he believed the median strips should run without interruption, except at crossroads.

Nguyen Duc Long, a traffic policeman, said Giai Phong Street was a gateway in and out Ha Noi and the flow of vehicles was often heavy. He said violations were so common that traffic police could not control the situation.

However, deputy director of the Ha Noi Department of Transport, Nguyen Xuan Tan, said that most of the accidents were caused by careless driving.