Historic surgery recipient dies


Da Lat native Nguyen Duy Hai, who underwent historic surgery performed by American surgeon McKay Kinnon to remove a 90kg tumor on his leg last year, died on Friday at the Lam Dong General hospital.

According to Hai's relatives, he was rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment the night before in a critical condition. He was unconscious and suffering from respiratory problems.

FV Hospital where Hai was operated on last year said it would work with its counterparts from Hoan My Hospital and Lam Dong General Hospital to find the cause of his death.

The hospital also claimed that during Dr Kinnon's August visit, Hai's health was examined and found to be stable.

Shoddy overseas recruiter arrested in Ha Noi

Ha Noi Police on Saturday arrested a 29-year-old man for appropriating more than VND10 billion (US$476,000) from local workers wanting jobs overseas.

Chu Dinh Huy, from Dong Anh District, was captured after impersonating staff from the Southern Waterborne Transport Service and Labour Export JSC. Huy collected money from a significant number of workers, promising to help them complete necessary procedures to work in Japan.

Huy has since admitted he asked Japanese people to act as his partners, getting them to meet with workers to gain their trust.

After failing to deliver on promised outcomes, Huy did not return the money, prompting the authorities to intervene.

The matter is currently being investigated.

Traffic safety a priority after spate of tragedies

On Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc sent an official order asking localities to do more to ensure traffic safety following a series of particularly serious accidents in some provinces recently.

The Deputy PM, who is also Chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, asked localities to increase the presence of police on roads, intensify traffic patrols to detect and deal with violations, and to better manage passenger vehicles through safety inspections.

He also ordered provinces and cities to increase awareness of traffic laws and safety for commuters.

Concerning the tragic accident in Lao Cai, the National Traffic Safety Committee has supported the victims' families with VND2 million (US$95) each and injured passengers with VND1 million (nearly $50).

Railway cross-over bridge completed

A technical completion ceremony for a railway cross-over bridge was held in the central city yesterday.

The two lane bridge, 435m long and 11m wide, was the first of its kind constructed by the Viet Nam Railway Corporation, with total investment capital of VND95 billion ($4.4 million).

The city's people's committee chairman, Van Huu Chien, said the bridge would help ease traffic congestion in the city.

HCM City students win Holcim prize

Three students from the HCM City Architecture University have won the special Holcim Prize for their "biological trash bin" project. The prize was awarded after the final round of a contest held on Saturday in HCM City.

The project, which uses worms to deal with organic waste, was applied successfully on a dragon tree trunk. It had the potential to protect the environment and improve farmers' living conditions, contest judges said. Apart from the special prize of VND70 million (US$3,333), the students also received VND200 million ($9,523) from Holcim Viet Nam to carry out the project.

The 2013 Holcim Prize contest attracted 150 projects from seven universities based in Ha Noi, HCM City, Can Tho and Da Nang.

Tien Giang bans controversial five-in-one Quinvaxem vaccine

The Tien Giang Health Department suspended the use of the five-in-one Quinvaxem vaccine in Cai Lay District on Saturday.

The decision came after 32 children were hospitalised with fevers and hives following vaccinations. They are now monitored by parents and healthcare staff.

"The use of Quinvaxem had been suspended in Cai Lay District, but it was still being administered in other parts of the province," said the province's health department director Tran Thanh Thao.

"Thousands of Quinvaxem shots have been administered in recent days, but parents should not be worried because only 5 per cent of children have an adverse reaction," said Thao.

The health ministry's Preventive Medicine Department visited the province yesterday to investigate the incident.

The use of Quinvaxem resumed as part of the National Expanded Programme for Immunisation in October.

The Korean manufactured vaccine was suspended early in May following the death of nine children.

The vaccine was confirmed safe by the World Health Organisation following tests conducted by an independent laboratory in the United Kingdom in June.

Primary school kids learn "safe walking"

A Pedestrian Safety Tour will be carried out in primary schools in HCM City to educate students during the current academic year about "safe walking".

The tour is part of Walk This Way Viet Nam Programme, a road-safety advocacy programme that aims to educate children about safe walking behaviours and increase awareness about pedestrian welfare.

This year's programme kicked off with the launch of the International Walk to School day in Viet Nam two weeks ago, following a photo contest for secondary school students nationwide who will capture pictures about their surrounding traffic environment.

The contest will run from November 2013 to April 2014 and will end with an exhibit in mid-May in Ha Noi featuring the winning photos.

The programme is expected to raise community awareness about safe walking and a safe environment for pedestrians, said Nguyen Ngoc Tuong, the committee's deputy head.

He said that pedestrian violations included jaywalking, crossing outside of zebra crossings, and ignoring signals.

Tuong asked police to impose strict fines on violators and told local People's Committees to take action to end illegal occupation of pavements for selling.

In Viet Nam, the number of pedestrians who die as a result of traffic accidents accounts for 14 per cent of the total number of fatalities. This figure is 4-6 per cent higher than other developing countries.

According to Mirjam Sidik, chief executive officer of the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, road-safety programmes should give priority to schoolchildren, particularly in locations with a high volume of pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

A survey conducted between 2010 and 2012 showed that 6,952 primary school students were injured while walking to their schools in southern Dong Nai Province.

In the first six months of 2011, 2,528 children in Dong Nai were brought to hospitals because of traffic accidents.

The number of pedestrians injured from traffic accidents accounted for one-fourth of the total injuries at Dong Nai Province's Paediatrics Hospital. Dong Nai General Hospital reported that most people who sustained injuries from traffic accidents related to pedestrians were under 16 years old.

In Dong Nai Province's Trang Bom District, Walk this Way has had a significant positive impact on students' behaviour, as the rate of children walking on sidewalks instead of streets has risen by 75 per cent over the course of the programme, Sidik said.

The programme in Viet Nam is organised by Safe Kids Worldwide in co-operation with FedEx Express.

Gov't to help build flood-proof homes

The Construction Ministry has asked the Government to help 40,000 poor families build new homes in flood-protected areas.

Under the ministry's proposal, families that build houses with the ground floor at least 1.5 metres above flood-water level will be given financial support.

Households that qualify are those in flood-prone areas in remote villages in the provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien – Hue as well as the city of Da Nang.

The support also cover eligible households in the provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan.

The programme will last from 2014 to 2015. In the first year, it will help 15,000 poor families with a total of VND156 billion (US$7.4 million) from the State budget.

The remaining 25,000 households will receive State support from the programme in 2015.

The households will receive support of VND10 million each, while families living in remote areas that face great difficulties will be granted VND12 million each.

The households will also be able to apply for preferential loans of under VND15 million each from social policy banks.

In addition, those households that have received financial support from other programmes can also apply for loans of less than VND15 million each from social policy banks to build flood-safe floors.

The ministry has proposed that 70 per cent of the loans be provided to applicants to build the ground floor of their homes.

The remaining 30 per cent will be disbursed when the roof section of their houses is built.

Population statistics being ignored

Viet Nam should strengthen legislature and regulations to promote the integration of population-related figures into socio-economic development planning.

The advice was made yesterday by Dinh Thai Ha, vice director of the Finance and Planning Department under the General Office for Population and Family Planning, at a workshop on the issue co-organised by the Ministry of Investment and Planning and the UN Population Fund.

Ha said that Viet Nam's ministries, branches and localities had failed to integrate population statistics into development planning effectively, leading to wasted investments and failure to meet real demands.

"The current law does not detail the integration of population numbers in development planning, and the new Law on Population only mentions the responsibilities of State agencies and organisations," he said, adding that loose law enforcement and a lack of sanctions allowed agencies to overlook population factors.

Other difficulties included inconsistent or outdated statistics at a central level and the shortage of migration data at local levels, as local governments did not include migrants in their development plans, he said.

For example, in 2007 the birth rate rose sharply in Viet Nam because it was believed to be a good lunar year and children born at that time would have good luck. However, this was ignored by the Ministry of Education and Training, that then went on to announce a shortage of 27,000 teachers.

Major cities like Ha Noi, HCM City and Binh Duong Province often complain about overloaded infrastructure due to large numbers of migrant workers.

Ha said that Viet Nam's demographic was constantly changing in terms of gender structure, a migrating workforce, the number of women at a reproductive age, and children at primary and secondary school ages, which meant adjustments to policies on healthcare, education and employment were vital.

Associate Professor Giang Thanh Long from the National Economics University said that Viet Nam was reaching the end of a demographic transition period with three crucial features: rapidly decreasing fertility rates, decreasing mortality rates and increasing life expectancy.

As a result, the child population (age 0-14) has decreased, the working age (15-64) population has shot up and the older population (65 and more) has also grown.

He said that the country faced challenges in harnessing demographic dividends including children's access to education, healthcare and social skills, and high youth unemployment that was partly due to a supply and demand mismatch in skills.

Old people are more vulnerable to socio-economic shocks due to changes in living arrangements, and family relations, social insurance and welfare are not able to meet the requirements of a rapidly aging population.

"Now, there is a large gap between economists, demographers and policy makers in their visions of demographic changes and an economic growth nexus," Long said, urging quantitative analyses of the mutual impacts of age structure changes and economic growth.

He suggested that the number of primary and secondary school teachers should not be increased but their capacity should be improved.

Job training, especially for rural labourers and those who wished to work overseas, should be promoted as way to generate jobs and incomes, he said.

The social assistance plan should be designed towards a universal scheme, in which priority should be given to rural and elderly women.

Community action essential to protect forests

An official from the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) has called for more community-based forest management to protect and manage forests in Viet Nam.

Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, deputy director of the institute was addressing a workshop organised in the capital city on Thursday.

"Community-based forest management is not a new model. It was created many years ago with the objectives to protect the water resources for the local communities, serve their religious beliefs and traditional culture", Tuan said.

Forestry management guide published

The inaugural set of sustainable forestry management training guides were released to the public in Ha Noi yesterday.

He hoped with the joint efforts between the state forest enterprises and the community forest management (CFM), forestry in Viet Nam would be better protected and managed.

Vu Duy Hung, an expert from IPSARD, said some 10,000 communes nation-wide have participated in the community forest management model, most of which were ethnic communities.

They are assigned to take care of over 2.7 million hectares of forests and barren hills, of which 68.6 percent of the land is forested and the rest is barren land.

"Among the forest managed by the community, 96 percent is natural forest and only 4 per cent planted forest. Viet Nam now has 16.24 million hectares dedicated as forest land", Hung said.

Hung said the CFM model, which is under the direct management of his institute (IPSARD), was being rolled out in five mountainous provinces of Lao Cai, Dien Bien and Lai Chau (in the north) and Dak Nong and Dak Lak (in the Central Highlands).

He agreed that the model has helped to reduce forest destruction in the last 10 years, however, believed the government had a role to provide workable policies to promote the model's efficiency.

"Forest destruction and encroachment activities occur frequently. In the worse case, which happened in Treng Village, Eal Hleo Commune and EaH'Leo District, Dak Lak Province, all 1,190ha of forest under the CFM model was cut down to grow trees commercially", Hung said.

Professor Dang Hung Vo, former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, affirmed that granting management rights and benefit sharing by the community was a central component of the model's success.

"This is a common practice in many other countries", Vo added.

Nguyen Nghia Bien, general director of the Forestry Inventory and Planning Institute, said legal documents relating the CFM in Viet Nam would require consultation to be complete, with the communities and countries providing evidence of their experience in the field.

"What's more important, the community management rights and the benefit sharing mechanism should be reflected in the revised 2003 Land Law which is slated to be discussed and approved at the ongoing National Assembly meeting", Bien said.

Echoing Bien's views, Hung said the community's rights and obligations should be enshrined in the laws.

"Forests and forest land dedicated to community services, forests protecting water sources for local people and forests that provide daily necessities for farmers must be distinguished in the laws to avoid future conflicts", Hung added.

The document, presented in both English and Vietnamese, is considered the minimum standard for vocational trainers who work in the field of sustainable or certified forestry.

The guides are part of a project to pilot vocational training on sustainable forest management for technical managers and workers which started in central Quang Tri Province two years ago.

The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and German-based Forest Finance Service GMbH Company, with the support of Ben Hai Forestry Company in Vinh Linh District.

The training framework guides received official backing from the authorities of Quang Tri Province on September 26.

Ministry demands beauty clinic probe

The Health Ministry has asked provincial and municipal authorities to carry out extensive inspections of beauty parlours and clinics across the country.

The official document, signed by Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen on Thursday, asks health departments in provinces and cities to check clinics and parlours specialising in cosmetic treatments including plastic surgery for compliance with regulations on medical examination and treatment.

Provincial health departments have also been required to inspect the professional competency of staff at the clinics and parlours, their awareness of patients' and surgeons' rights and obligations, and licenses for providing cosmetic surgegy.

The departments have to strictly punish illegal (unlicensed) clinics and parlours as well as exaggerated claims made in advertisements.

In related news, inspectors with the HCM City Health Department have discovered several violations in advertising and other forms of publicity mongering at many cosmetic surgery clinics and hospitals in the city.

After inspecting 15 such facilities between September 23 and October 11, the department found six of them making false claims about cosmetic treatments they offer; as also not letting prospective clients know the fees charged for such treatments.

The violating establishments were asked to pay fines worth VND52.7 million (US$2,509).

The inspectors also sent a directive asking around 80 facilities offering cosmetic surgeries to take corrective action and refrain from misleading the public.

They also asked the HCM City People's Committee to consider requiring district authorities to strengthen monitoring of cosmetic surgery clinics and hospitals in their locality in order to find out those operating illegally.

The department said it will soon open a training course for owners and managers of establishments offering cosmetic surgery and related services that will acquaint them better with relevant regulations.

The latest inspections followed the shocking news of a surgeon admitting to dumping the body of a patient, who died on the operating table in his clinic after a botched breast operation, into the Red River in Ha Noi last Saturday.

The 40-year-old surgeon, Nguyen Manh Tuong, was suspended from his job at the Bach Mai Hospital after being arrested on Tuesday.

The body of Le Thi Thanh Huyen - the patient whose body was allegedly thrown into the Red River, is yet to be found.

Commune slams nightmare roads

"People here have only one wish: a smooth road," said Ban Van Bao, chairman of Vu Muon Commune.

The road in front of the People's Committee headquarters where he works bears numerous cracks, tens of centimeters in depth and covered with piles of mud. The asphalt surface has been peeled off the road by rain and overloaded lorries.

"Local residents do not dare to travel on this section on rainy days," Bao said.

The road, part of National Highway 1, was repaired in 2003 but has been damaged significantly since then. The cracked surface extends over 13km, running through the communes of Sy Binh, Vu Muon and Cao Son of Bach Thong District as well as hamlets in Ngan Son and Na Ry Districts.

Every week, commune officials join residents to carry out repairs, but despite their efforts, the road gets worse every time a truck passes over the fragmented surface.

Residents have contributed over VND21 million (US$1,000) to the communal road repair fund, while the commune and Dong Tam Cigarette JSC donated VND200 million ($9,500).

Local authorities and residents have made many proposals about what should be done. But none of them have been accepted, according to Bao.

Hoang Thi Mua from Sy Binh Commune said that students in her commune fall again and again in the rainy season due to the muddy road.

The degradation is not only inconvenient. It also isolates these communes and hamlets from surrounding areas, hindering their socio-economic development, said Hoang Kim Hong, People's Committee chairman of Cao Son Commune.

"Because it's so hard to travel, people are forced to sell their agricultural products at low prices and buy other necessities such as petrol, fertiliser, construction materials, fish sauce and salt from other regions at higher prices," he said.

Diageo donates water filters to schools

Diageo Vietnam Limited yesterday donated water-filtration systems worth VND335 million (US$16,000) in total to eight primary schools in poor rural areas in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan.

Also, the company and its partner, the East Meets West Foundation, will offer students and their parents training on hygiene and sanitation.

The general manager of Diageo Vietnam, Stephane Gripon, said the water-filtration systems would supply safe drinking water to more than 4,700 students.

Workshop discusses gender-based violence

Preventing and eliminating gender-based violence was the main topic of discussion among representatives of local governmental agencies at a workshop on Thursday in the Mekong Delta province of Can Tho.

The workshop, jointly organised by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the UN Women Vietnam, aimed to raise awareness of the various kinds of gender-based violence in the delta region.

Speakers cited the programme in Da Nang, the Love Journey of Peace and Development organisation, as a good example of a new approach in raising awareness and building capacity of students.

TOEFL Primary officially launched

TOEFL Primary, the test evaluating English as a second language for primary school students, was officially launched in Viet Nam with an inaugural event held in Ha Noi, HCM City, and central Hue City.

The launch was hosted by the Viet Nam International Investment Group in co-operation with the Education and Training Departments.

TOEFL Primary will aim to meet the needs of English language students by exposing them to world-leading professional testing.

Counterfeit food seller captured in Bac Ninh

Ha Noi Police Division of economic crimes and management positions investigation (PC46) issued an urgent arrest-warrant for Nguyen Duc Binh, 29, from northern Bac Ninh Province who was charged of selling counterfeit food on Thursday.

Earlier on October 15, Nguyen Duc Binh was caught by Anti-counterfeiting and Trademark officers while driving a truck carrying 159 counterfeit soy sauce jars under the brand of Kikkoman, whose trademark is protected in Viet Nam.

Binh confessed that the sauce had been purchased from a Chinese individual in northern Lang Son and Quang Ninh provinces

Last body found in Binh Phuoc motorboat accident

Border police in southern Binh Phuoc Province have found the body of the last victim in the overturned motorboat that left seven dead on Wednesday.

The seven victims, all from the province's Loc Ninh District, were swept away following the boat's overturning. They were among 40 workers traveling by boat along the Mang River in Loc An Commune to Cambodia to work. The old craft suddenly overturned after being hit by a violent torrent of water 50m off the river's shore. Thirty-three people survived the accident by clinging to tree branches along the river bank.

The border police have called upon individuals to donate VND150 million (US$7050) and 140 kilos of rice to the families' of the victims.

50th ABU General Assembly opens in Hanoi

The 50th General Assembly of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU GA 50) officially opened in Hanoi on October 28 after a series of events on the sidelines.

The ABU executive board held a press conference in the afternoon on October 27 to announce that the two-day conference will be chaired by ABU Acting Chairman Naoji Ono, who is also NHK Vice President.

Naoji Ono highlighted the significance of the ABU GA 50, saying it is one of the most important events in the region’s broadcasting industry to review the ABU’s operations and map out strategic development plans for the Union in the future.

He praised Radio the Voice of Vietnam (VOV)’s successful hosting of the RadioAsia Conference in Hanoi in July 2013.

ABU senior leaders expressed their pleasure at the positive outcomes of the ABU TV Song Festival in Hanoi on October 26, which involved a large number of broadcasters, media workers and audiences.

They affirmed that the ABU will organize similar events in the immediate future to promote cultural exchanges and create closer links between broadcasters and people in the region.

They announced that ABU GA 51 will take place in Kuala Lumpur next year along with the world summit on media for children, which is set to be held for the first time in Asia within the ABU framework.

The 2013 ABU prize-giving ceremony will be held on the evening of October 28 to honour the best broadcasts of the year.

Vietnam responds to World Diabetes Day

A festival themed “Diabetes Prevention Day” will be held in Ho Chi Minh City on November 3-5, then come to Hanoi on November 14-16.

The event aims to raise public awareness of the disease and encourage them to lead a healthy lifestyle.

People who contract diabetes will have a chance to receive free health consultations.

A chronic disease, diabetes increases the risk of other serious health problems. The health sector reported that the prevalence of diabetes has grown in Vietnam in recent years.

In the 1990s, diabetes incidence among the population group aged 20-79 was 1.2%. The rate jumped to 2.7% in 2002 and 5.7% in 2012.

Medical experts estimated that some five million Vietnamese currently suffer from diabetes but more than 60% have not been diagnosed. At the same time, many diagnosed patients have yet to receive any proper treatment.

Dr. Nguyen Thy Khe, Chairman of the Vietnamese Association of Diabetes and Endocrinology, said the growing number of diabetes patients is to blame on a protein-laden diet and a lack of physical activities.

Those suffering from overweight and high blood pressure face a higher risk of developing diabetes.