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Social News 13/1

Ministry warns of hand, foot, mouth disease; HCM City to add more 23 CNG buses; Thousands of calls to healthcare hot line for poor service; Two killed in car-motorbike collision; Hanoi Air Traffic Control Centre inaugurated

Ministry warns of hand, foot, mouth disease

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has warned northern and central localities about a high risk of foot-and-mouth disease spreading during the cold weather.

The ministry said the cold weather created favourable conditions for the disease to spread.

Statistics from the ministry's Department of Animal Health on January 12 showed that foot-and-mouth disease had hit the provinces of Son La, Thanh Hoa, Lao Cai and Ha Tinh.

Minister Cao Duc Phat has instructed authorities in the four provinces to work with local people to avert the spread of the disease.

"Local breeders should be shown how to stop the disease spreading through their animals," he said.

Phat also urged the localities to tighten inspections of animal shipments and slaughter houses, as well as spraying chemicals to sterilise affected areas.

The ministry previously supplied 5,000 litres of chemicals for Dak Nong Province to stamp out the disease in late December.

Second victim of tug boat blast dies

The second victim of a serious tug boat explosion on January 10 in Ho Chi Minh City’s district 7 died, the People’s Hospital 115 announced yesterday.

Quach Hoài Nam, 44, from the northern province of Ninh Binh, died in the hospital though medical workers tried to save him.

The incident took place in the oil cellar of a tug boat called Kim An 06, numbered SG 1800. It exploded on January 10 when the boat was docking at Vegeport J. Co.’s port near Phu My Bridge in District 7.

Le Quang Cuong, 25, from the northern province of Thanh Hoa, was tossed upward and died in the spot.

Quach Hoai Nam, 44, was injured seriously and immediately rushed for medical attention, but he could not survive at last.

The cause of the incident was being further investigated.

Thousands of calls to healthcare hot line for poor service

There have been nearly 10,000 calls to a hot line of healthcare, complaining poor service and bad behaviors of medical workers after one year of setting up the hot line, said the Ministry of Health yesterday.

The hot line was set up at offices of the ministry, departments of health and hospitals. Most patients complained poor facility of hospital and bad behaviors of nurses and doctors to patients and their relatives, treatment procedures, hospital charges and paper formality procedures as well as security in hospitals.

Patients also reported negative activities such as wheedling money out of patients or patients’ relatives. However, there have also been calls to appraise devoted doctors or teams of good medical workers.

In 2014, over 6.8 medical workers have been reminded of their bad behaviors to patients; 137 others were reprimanded; 116 were cut salary as a form of reprimanding; 18 were asked to do other jobs; 6 were dismissed and 4 were chucked out of the job.

Two killed in car-motorbike collision

Two people were killed yesterday after a car collided with a motorbike traveling in the opposite direction on National Highway 1A through Ky Thu commune, Ky Anh District.

According to witnesses, the car was apparently traveling in the south-north direction. It was not clear how many people were in the car at the time. The name of the driver has not yet been released.

The two people on the motorbike, identified as Vo Van Dao and Doan Van Trong from Ky Anh District, were both killed.

Hanoi Air Traffic Control Centre inaugurated

The Hanoi Air Traffic Control Centre (ATCC Hanoi) officially commenced operation on January 13.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Transport Minister Dinh La Thang said that Vietnam has enjoyed strong safety records in flight management and administration over the past 20 years.

The new, modern, and globally relevant ATCC Hanoi will help improve the country’s aviation infrastructure and ultimately increase the quality of flight management services, he added.

The minister has asked the Northern Air Traffic Management Company to ensure the safe and effective operation of the centre as a contribution to strengthening fight safety and reducing the number of delayed or cancelled flights.

Construction on the 750 billion VND (35.25 million USD) centre began in February 2012 over more than 20,500 square meters in the Long Bien district.

On January 11, flight control and administration was successfully shifted from the previous Hanoi Area Control Centre to the new Air Traffic Control Centre.

Vietnam hospital fosters cooperation with Japanese partners

Military Hospital 175 under the Ministry of Defence signed a memorandum of understanding on medical cooperation with Okayama Saiseikai Hospital and the Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA) at a ceremony in HCM City on January 12.

Their future collaboration will cover medical research, transfer of latest medical technology, human resources training, and joint treatment for patients.

AMDA, founded in Okayama City, Japan, in 1984, is a non-governmental organisation with an international network of 30 chapters and 47 collaborating organisations across the globe, providing emergency medical aid to people affected by natural and man-made disasters.

External relations significant to Hanoi’s development

External relations and people-to-people exchange contributed significantly to Hanoi’s development in 2014, said Le Hong Son, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee.

At a conference in the city on January 12 to review 2014 operations across Hanoi Union of Friendship Organizations (HAUFO) and establish action plans for 2015, Son said the city’s main vehicle promoting people-to-people exchange, the Union, maintains strong connections and friendship with foreign embassies and international organisations in Vietnam.

He reported that so far Hanoi has established relations with over 100 cities, countries and territories, making 2014 a successful year for the city’s external works. Numerous international events held in the capital this year enabled meaningful cultural exchange and fostered strong people-based diplomacy.

Son said HAUFO collaborated with the embassies of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, India, and Sri Lanka to organise friendship exchange programmes, enhancing mutual understanding between locals and visitors across the world.

According to the Vice Chairman, a seminar providing information about the East Sea issue was organised, while a special column at www.haufo.org.vn was also launched to introduce international friends to Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea and the Vietnamese Government’s consistent policy of abiding by international law in solving issues related to sovereignty.

Along with friendship exchanges, a series of cultural and sporting events were also held throughout the year to celebrate the nation’s holidays.

Speaking at the conference, President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations Vu Xuan asked HAUFO to continue forging links with relevant agencies in order to further promote its activities in 2015.

HCM City to add more 23 CNG buses

The HCM City Department of Transport has approved the May 19 Bus Cooperative to invest 23 buses using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

These new buses will ply between An Suong Bus Stop in Hoc Mon District and the National University in Thu Duc District. They will replace the old buses operating on route 33 that are running on diesel fuel.

Saigon Transportation Mechanical Corporation (Samco) will produce buses worth VND2.75 billion of each and hand over the May 19 Bus Cooperative in July and August.

CNG is considered a clean fuel and comprises of compressed methane and ethane. The fuel has a high octane rating, meaning it is compressed and not highly inflammable. It vaporizes in the air without catching fire, thereby minimizing the risk of an explosion.

Municipal authorities hope that CNG-powered buses will reduce pollution in the city and save at least 40 per cent in operational costs, as compared to petrol-powered buses

Jetstar Pacific tops Vietnam’s list of tardy airlines in Dec 2014: statistics

Budget carrier Jetstar Pacific offered the fewest on-time flights in the last month of 2014 among other airlines in Vietnam, the country’s aviation watchdog said over the weekend.

In December, the low-cost carrier operated 1,625 flights, 30.6 percent of which were delayed, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) said in a monthly report on flight cancelations and delays on Saturday.

Thirty-one Jetstar Pacific flights were canceled last month, accounting for 1.9 percent of total flights.

The report covers the on-time statuses of four Vietnamese carriers, including flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, the Vietnam Air Services Co. (VASCO), which is a Vietnam Airlines Corporation subsidiary, and no-frills airlines VietJet Air and Jetstar Pacific.

The CAAV also offers daily reports on the flight statuses of the four carriers on its website.

The four airlines collectively operated 15,268 flights in December 2014, with 2,399 flights – or 15.7 percent – failing to depart on time, according to the CAAV. Only 130 flights were canceled during the month, accounting for 0.8 percent of the total services.

The flight delay rate was 3.2 percent higher than in November.

Most of the delayed flights were caused by “late arrival of aircraft,” which means a delayed flight will affect the schedule of the next flights using the same aircraft, according to the CAAV. In the meantime, bad weather and technical issues were blamed for most of the canceled flights.

VietJet Air was the second worst when it comes to on-time performance, with 692 out of 3,662 flights departing behind schedule last month, or an 18.9 percent rate. The no-frills carrier had to cancel 37 of its flights.

Vietnam Airlines had a delay rate of 12.4 percent, with 1,202 out of 9,672 flights stuck on the tarmac longer than scheduled. The national flag carrier canceled 56 flights in December, or a 0.6 percent rate.

VASCO, which flies between Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho, Ca Mau and Con Dao, had the best on-time performance, mostly because it only operated 309 flights in December. Merely eight of the flights were delayed, and six canceled, representing a rate of 2.6 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Le Hong Ha, general director of Jetstar Pacific, said the airline will receive more airplanes before the Lunar New Year, or Vietnamese Tet, which could help lower the flight delay rate.

Tet falls on February 19 and it is Vietnam's biggest celebration.

Jetstar Pacific is expected to have fewer delayed flights in January and February than the final months of last year as its flight schedule has been rearranged, Ha added.

The full-year flight cancelation and delay rate of all Vietnamese airlines in 2014 was around 19.3 percent, approximate to the 2013 figure, according to the CAAV.

Expressway in section of An Phu Intersection- Belt Road No.2 opened for traffic

Viet Nam Expressway Corporation (VEC) officially opened for traffic in the section connecting between An Phu Intersection in HCMC’s District 2 and Belt Road No.2 leading to the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay expressway yesterday before allowing vehicles to be able to use the expressway next month.

The 26, 5-meter-wide road section was designed for vehicles following urban station standards with maximum speed of 80 kilometers an hour, including four lanes for vehicles and two emergency lanes.

According to Viet Nam Expressway Corporation, HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway connects with East West Highway, a major road section for city’s traffic, aiming to contribute to decrease vehicles and shorten the distance from Ho Chi Minh City to neighboring provinces and cities.

Viet Nam Expressway Corporation said that HCMC -Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway will be opened for traffic before Lunar New Year 2015.

Restricting personal vehicles indispensable trend: Deputy Transport Minister

Restricting personal vehicles is an indispensable trend, said Deputy Transport Minister  Nguyen Hong Truong in an exchange with Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper following public concerns over a HCM City’s proposal on limiting individual vehicles to tackle traffic congestion.

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong said that restricting personal means of transport has been conducted in all countries in the world to protect the environment, and improve local residents' livelihoods.

“The rapid increase of personal vehicles in Vietnam is concerning urban transport management authorities, especially as public transportation has yet to meet the demand of commuters”.

If there is no measure to tackle the surge of individual vehicles, it will be a threat to urban infrastructure and its consequences are traffic gridlock and environment pollution, said Mr. Truong.

The Ministry of Transport has asked related agencies to work out measures against personal vehicles in major cities.

One of the measures is to restrict individual means of transport but it needs a proper roadmap in which public transport will gradually replace personal vehicles.

The Ministry’s choice is to restrict individual vehicles together with to develop public transportation to meet the public demands. Once, public transport has yet meet the increasing demand, the ministry will loosen restriction.

The Deputy Minister also said that residents should obey the law and understand the policy to make the city more beautiful. Local governments should increase spreading information to make people clearly understand the benefit of new regulation for their better living environment.

Free medical check-up, drugs for poor Khmer people in Mekong delta provinces

400 Khmer residents in the Mekong delta province of Soc Trang received medical check-up and medicines gratis yesterday.

The Bank for Social Policies and the Institute of Hygiene and Public Health in Ho Chi Minh City January 11 provided free-of-charge medical examination and drugs to poor Khmer in distant and disadvantaged Thuan Hung Commune where 60 percent of inhabitants are Khmer residents. The rate of families on the poverty line or close to poverty line is over 25 percent.

Moreover, in addition to receiving health  examination, inhabitants were given a medical box with 17 normal drugs worth more than VND400,000 (US$18.7).

Before the medical worker team also provided medical check up to nearly 500 Khmer inhabitants in  An Quang Huu Commune in the Mekong delta province of Tra Vinh’s Tra Cu District.

Total spending for the charitable mission in two provinces is nearly VND500 million (US$ 23,490)

Voluntary health insurance via family package required for individuals

The Law on Health Insurance, which takes effect on January 1 this year, has made life tough for individuals as they cannot purchase a voluntary health insurance policy unless they get it via a family package.

In order to buy voluntary health insurance, people should come to the authorities of the wards or towns where they reside to purchase it. Local authorities check the number of family members and send the list of buyers to district-level social insurance agencies for issuing health insurance cards for them.

The fee of voluntary health insurance will change depending on the number of family members. For example, the first member will have to pay the fee equal to no more than 6% of the current base salary of VND621,000 (US$28.9) but the second, third and the fourth persons will pay 70%, 60% and 50% respectively of the fee paid by the first and the fee for the fifth buyer is only 40%.

The law requires people who are employed by household businesses or work as domestic helpers in cities to return to their hometowns to buy voluntary health insurance together with their family members, and use the insurance card for health checks and treatments at local healthcare facilities.

The law also regulates that patients will have to fully cover their expenditures when having health checks or medical treatments at hospitals outside the localities where they have their permanent residence registered and their health insurance cards issued.

Dang Huy Quoc Thinh, deputy director of the HCMC Oncology Hospital, said the new rule helps reduce overloads at hospitals in cities but it is opposed by many patients and residents in the city.

Patients complained that it is unreasonable when the law prohibits them from receiving medical treatments at hospitals in the areas where they do not have permanent resident status. This means they will have to cover all the expenditures if they get treatments at these hospitals.

Experts said the ultimate purpose of health insurance is to encourage people to buy medical insurance, so favorable conditions should be created for them.

Sunwah Group conducts social activities in HCM City

Over 1,000 people participated in the “Sunwah and Friends Social Services and Creativity Day”, held by Sunwah Foundation, the public services arm of Sunwah Group, in Ho Chi Minh City on January 11.

Themed “Together We Care”, the programme encouraged people to work with youth and children to carry out social initiatives across the city.

A series of social and cultural activities took place during the event, including an art exhibition showcasing 53 child-produced pieces of artwork and a marketing competition for students designed to foster creativity and innovation.

In addition, the organising board also launched a number of projects to be implemented in 2015, such as sending cards to child patients and providing meals to impoverished patients and their relatives.

Jonathan Choi, Chairman of Sunwah Group, pledged to contribute to Vietnam’s development through fostering cross-sector investment cooperation and providing public and social services.

For his part, Chairman of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations’ HCM City chapter Le Hung Quoc attributed the city’s socio-economic achievements to the significant role of foreign enterprises such as Sunwah, with numerous practical social programmes.

“Sunwah and Friends Social Services and Creativity Day” offered diversified social activities and set a precedent for the social responsibility of large groups to the locality’s socio-economic development, Quoc added.

Over the past few years, Sunwah, a Hong Kong-based Group, has organised numerous social projects; sponsored educational, arts, and cultural programmes, and provided scholarships for disabled Vietnamese children.

Activities organised to help the disadvantaged enjoy a happy Tet

A variety of activities were held in cities and provinces to support the poor and social beneficiaries enjoy a happy Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, which falls in mid-February, 2015.

The Binh Duong provincial Labour Federation said it would present 1,400 bus fares worth over VND1.2 billion to help needy workers return home for Tet.

In addition, many enterprises in Binh Duong have planned support activities to help poor workers and disadvantaged people enjoy a warm Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday. Over 1,000 workers of Binh Duong Garment Company and Thai Binh Holding & Shoes Manufacturing Company will be transported home by buses free of charge.

On January 9, representatives from the South African Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City and the Far East Insurance Joint Stock Company (VASS) presented 100 gifts worth VND600,000 each to visually-impaired children in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

The central province of Quang Ngai has approved a plan with a budget of over VND21.5 billion to implement the price stabilisation programme during Tet as well as promote Vietnamese goods in rural areas.

Main commodities to be sold will include rice, foodstuff, cooking oil, meat, eggs, sugar, vegetables and fruits.

Can Tho strives to reduce malnourished child ratio

The health care sector of the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho will work to reduce the ratio of malnourished children under five years old from 14.9 to 10 percent this year, equivalent to 8,080 kids.

According to the municipal Department of Public Health, local women will receive training on pre-natal and post-natal nutrition as well as childcare methods.

Vaccination programmes for children will be sped up, Nguyen Thi Be Nam, Director of the Can Tho Reproductive Healthcare Centre said.

Can Tho is now home to 80,800 under-five-year-old children, making up 4 percent of the city’s population.

Can Tho and other 12 provinces form the Mekong Delta region, which covers a total area of around 40,000 square kilometres with a population of 18 million and is a major aquaculture region and the largest rice production hub of Vietnam.

Problems block drainage system

A flood drainage system for the Duong De residential quarter in Nha Trang City has been inundated with problems that have prevented its completion 12 years after it was approved.

Worse still, additional work needed to address some major shortcomings is estimated to cost more than the investment earmarked for the entire project.

The flood drainage system project for the residential quarter in Vinh Hoa District was approved by the Khanh Hoa People's Committee in 2002.

Essentially, it would build a 1.165-kilometre canal to divert runoff from the Hon Kho Mountain to the sea off Nha Trang.

The Khanh Hoa Centre for Development of Land Fund was assigned as investor of the VND20.2 billion (US$961,900) project.

But 12 years on, just 600m of canal has been built and the project has been temporarily suspended.

Residents at the foot of the Hon Kho Mountain say that water leaks from the project have become more and more serious over the last few years.

Cap Van Luat, who lives in the quarter's Group 15, said that during the rainy season last year, water from the canal leaked and overflowed on to Trieu Quang Phuc Road.

The canal was also hit by a landslide, he said.

The residents are worried that the canal can break and water would flow directly into their homes, Luat added.

Nguyen Tien Luu, director of the Khanh Hoa Centre for Development of Land Fund, told the Tuoi tre (Youth) newspaper that the agency which designed the project, the Khanh Hoa Irrigation Consultancy Company, did not take underground water into account, leading to the leaks.

In October 2013, the Khanh Hoa People's Committee asked the project investor to carry out works to prevent any breach in the canal.

The centre hired the Khanh Hoa Irrigation Consultant Company to formulate a project to carry out the needed repairs.

Last December, the company informed the People's Committee that the repairs would cost more than VND23.3 billion ($1.1 million), which was VND3 billion ($142,800) more than the investment for the entire flood drainage system.

Le Duc Vinh, deputy chairman of the Khanh Hoa People's Committee, said that the province cannot agree to pay such a large sum of money to improve a project that had lasted for more than 10 years and had many problems.

Besides, the province does not have the needed funds, he said.

Vinh asked the centre and the company to re-examine reasons for the leaks and carry out repairs only at the vulnerable points. Both agencies have been asked to submit a plan to complete the project by the middle of this month.

Director Luu told Tuoi tre (Youth) that he was not sure when repair work on the drainage system would begin.

Dien Bien: Poor people receive Tet gifts

The Steering Committee for the Northwestern Region on January 12 presented gifts to the poor, people who rendered services during wartime, and some nursery schools in Dien Bien province’s Muong Cha and Nam Po districts.

The presentation was held in the run up to the traditional Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, which will fall on February 15-23.

The gifts comprised 35 LCD televisions and 20 packages of electric cookers, kettles, mosquito nets, and blankets totaling more than 100 million VND (over 4,760 USD).

They were part of more than 200 TVs and 100 gift packages donated by social organisations and businesses.

Earlier, the committee also gave similar presents to people in the neighbouring provinces of Lai Chau, Lao Cai, and Yen Bai.

VNN/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/ND

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