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Social News 14/10

Technical hiccups block popular websites; 33 Vung Tau students suffer food poisoning; Rare wildife seen in Ca Mau forest; Sick fishing boat crew member hospitalised; HCMC applies early treatment for HIV patients with ARV

New diseases need int'l fightback, experts say

More than 100 health, livestock and environment experts from 17 countries are discussing ways to promote collaboration in disease prevention in the face of several newly emerging diseases at a three-day workshop that began in Ha Noi yesterday.

They agreed that increased collaboration was needed to prevent and fight the spread of diseases like avian influenza H5N1, H7N9, SARS and Ebola.

"We should mobilise society as a whole to participate in activities that manage and minimise disease-causing risks," said Tran Dac Phu, director of the Health Ministry's Preventive Medicine Department.

Phu called for greater co-opearation and co-ordination between nations, regions and continents in handling diseases, saying this was an urgent need in the context of the rapid spread of Ebola virus and deaths in the West Africa region.

The workshop is part of the One Health initiative, a multidisciplinary approach to achieve optimal health for people, animals and the environment through local, regional and global research collaboration.

Proponents of the concept believe that the synergism achieved will "advance healthcare for the 21st century and beyond by accelerating biomedical research discoveries, enhancing public health efficacy, expeditiously expanding the scientific knowledge base, and improving medical education and clinical care."

Nguyen Thu Yen of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology said that Viet Nam faces many challenges in disease prevention due to a lack of clear mechanisms and inconsistent collaboration at local levels.

"Collaboration in the prevention and control of infectious diseases is largely passive and happens only at the national level. Awareness and involvement of local authorities in the prevention and control of zoonosis (diseases that can be transmitted from animals to human) in most areas remains low and limited," said Yen.

The workshop will focus discussions on surveillance and research at the interface between wildlife, domestic animals and people, as also challenges around anti microbial resistance.

Participants noted that the One Health concept has gained much more attention in Southeast Asia because of the rise in cross-species epidemics such as SARS and Avian Influenza.

With 70 per cent of emerging diseases being of animal origin, this has become a crucial issue for the region, given its rapid urbanisation and dramatic expansion of livestock production, they said.

HCM City targets stable industrial relations

The HCM City Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has launched a programme to build sound and stable industrial relations and protect the rights of all the stakeholders.

To last until 2020, it will also help improve managerial capacity, support industrial relations at State agencies and institutions, strengthen the capacity of trade unions and union workers, and promote collective bargaining and social dialogue.

Social housing for workers and incentives related to tax, land, and bank credit will be other features of the programme, which will be piloted at industrial parks and export processing zones and in the districts of Thu Duc, Binh Tan, Hoc Mon, Cu Chi, and 7 until next year.

Technical hiccups block popular websites

Since yesterday morning, readers have been unable to access a series of popular news websites including dantri.com, soha.vn, nguoilaodong.vn, cafef.vn, Vneconomy.vn and Afamily.com.

Nguyen The Tan, deputy director general of the Vietnam Communication Corporation (VCCorp), the sole IT service provider for these sites, denied rumours that the websites were attacked by hackers. He said the problem was caused by technical difficulties at VCCorp's data centre.

33 Vung Tau students suffer food poisoning

Thirty-three students at Nguyen Gia Thieu Junior Secondary School in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau's Vung Tau City were hospitalised for food poisoning yesterday.

After eating fried rice and noodles at the school canteen, they experienced fever, nausea, stomachache, diarrhoea and vertigo and were taken to Ba Ria-Vung Tau Hospital.

Rare wildife seen in Ca Mau forest

Several rare wild animals have recently been discovered in U Minh Ha Forest in the southernmost province of Ca Mau, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The animals included monkeys, wild boars, weasels, pythons and varans. Wild boars have not been seen in the forest for dozens of years. The flock of wild boars may include hundreds of animals, local forest wardens said.

The Ca Mau People's Committee banned wild animal hunting, transport and trading in 2000. Since 2010, the province has discovered nearly 80 cases of illegal wild animal trading.

Sick fishing boat crew member hospitalised

A crew member of a fishing vessel, who suddenly developed convulsions and became unconscious last Sunday morning, has been taken to Da Nang's General Hospital for further treatment.

The 40-year-old crew member of the fishing vessel DNa 90372 was safely brought to the mainland ten hours later by the SAR 412 vessel, as directed by the Region 3's Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre.

The incident occurred when the fishing vessel was about 100 nautical miles to the north of Da Nang City.

Earlier, the centre had ordered the city's emergency centre to instruct the other crew members via the maritime communication system on giving first aid to their sick colleague, after receiving an SOS message from the fishing vessel.

Teaching English in preschools to be suspended if violations discovered

As per the municipal Department of Education and Training’s guideline, local governments have to inspect teaching foreign languages in public and private kindergartens in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Department has just issued an instruction of extra activities in preschools asking to tighten control over teaching English in public and private kindergartens with aiming to help children familiarize with English.

Accordingly, inspectors will stop teaching if they discover preschool managers force parents and preschoolers to participate in extra-activities. If children don not take part in english classes as an extra activity, teachers must organize other activities for them.

HCMC applies early treatment for HIV patients with ARV

The municipal People’s Committee has approved a project to treat HIV-infected people with antiretroviral drug (ARV) earlier by calling for social contribution, Ho Chi Minh City authorities showed its determination in the fight against the disease.

The city is striving not to have any more new HIV-infection cases in next 15 years.

Currently the city has more than 48,000 HIV-infection cases. As per the Ministry of  Health,  HIV-infected patients must have a CD4 count test so that medical workers can determine their stage of HIV infection and their readiness for ARV treatment.  CD4 cells are a type of white blood cell that fights infection

HIV-infected persons is recommended to start free treatment  with ARV only when their CD4 count drops below 350 cells/mm3.

This is in line with the most recent WHO Treatment Guidelines which increased the eligibility from under 350 to 500 cells/mm3.

Based on those criteria, 35 medical clinics for outpatients in hospitals and prisons, and rehabilitation centers are treating 23,000 HIV people with ARV, accounting for nearly 48 percent of infection cases.

Accordingly, half of HIV-infected people without being treated with ARV will be threat of transmission of the disease.

Currently the project makers are preparing documents, facilities, ARV supply and trained medical workers. As scheduled, the project will start  next year at four to five medical units. For the period 2016-2018, the project will be expanded in districts and wards. All people who do not want to receive free-of-charge ARV treatment can pay for the treatment.

Scientific study proves that  providing early antiretroviral treatment significantly improves health among people living with HIV; reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to HIV-negative sexual partners by 96 percent.

In addition, people whose HIV is treated with ARV  can enjoy an increase in life expectancy of 40 years

When people living with HIV register to participate in the project, they will be offered examination, consultation, periodic medical check-up and tests of immune conditions and opportunistic infections and medicines.

In reality, the HIV people taking care and treatment program in the city has helped improving health among people living with HIV and their living  quality.

Pharmaceutical companies and benefactors will contribute to help HIV-infected people; accordingly, the price of the medicine in the first phase will be subsidized, cutting one third of market price. It is estimated that a person living with HIV will pay VND12,000-22,000 (VND 0.56- 1.03) a day for treatment spending.

From 2016 when there will be no more support of international sources, patients have to pay CD4 tests, hence treatment spending will increase to VND14,000-24,000 (US$ 0.65- 1.13) a day per person.

Ministry plans to include literature on medical entrance exam

Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien threw her support behind a proposal to include literature in the entrance exam for medical universities.

The proposal was addressed at the meeting of deans of medical universities in Hanoi on October 10. Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said that, because students must take one of four groupings of university admission examinations, they tend to focus on studying subjects in these groups and lack knowledge in other areas.

"Even some state officials use bad grammar while creating documents. I've joked with them, saying it would be easy to have a stroke reading these documents," she said.

According to the minister, instead of holding a separate entrance exams, medical universities could use the scores from high school graduation exams to choose students. Since math, literature and a foreign language are mandatory, medical universities would only need to choose one more subject such as chemistry or biology.

Nguyen Minh Thuyet, former deputy chair of the NA Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children, said better use of language will help doctors in their thinking processes and to better communicate with their patients. He said, "Literature can also help doctors be more sympathetic with their patients."

One teacher of literature at Tran Phu High School approves of the proposal, but according to her, literature should not be the main subject. Students with good marks in literature should be prioritised, but making literature into one of the four main subjects would only put pressure on students. "This plan can be implemented in 2016, and we can gradually raise the benchmarks for literature in the future."

Nguyen Duc Hinh, dean of Hanoi Medical University, agreed that several years of preparation would be needed before the plan can be carried out. Detailed enrollment schemes will be discussed at another meeting of deans of medical universities this December.

Heavy metals poisoning Dong Nai environment

Heavy metals in the soil, including lead and zinc, threaten the land environment around industrial zones in Dong Nai province.

Dong Nai's Centre for Environmental Monitoring examined soil samples collected from industrial zones and solid-waste treatment plants in the province.

The centre found the percentage of underground heavy metals higher than the permitted standard set by Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

It reported that the content of zinc and lead in wastewater samples collected from Bien Hoa 1 Industrial Zone exceeded safety standards by three to four times.

The content of zinc in the soil samples collected from Loteco and Long Thanh industrial zone was reported to be more than double the safe amount.

The percentage of arsenic and cooper in soil samples drawn from the solid-waste treatment plant in Thong Nhat's Quang Trung commune were between 1.4 and 4.8 times higher than allowed.

In addition, the percentage of arsenic found in soil samples collected from solid-waste treatment plants at Bien Hoa's Trang Dai commune, Vinh Cuu's Vinh Tan commune and Dinh Quan's Tuc Trung Commune also surpassed the standard.

However, Dong Nai's CEM reported that the content of heavy metals in bottom-land, agricultural and residential areas were still under the permitted standard.

The centre recommended that farmers improve the quality of land by supplementing it with potassium and phosphate.

Responding to a question from Viet Nam News, the director of Dong Nai's Environment and Natural Resources Department, Le Viet Hung, said that the provincial government had not been given any information on the issue.

Illegal miners destroy rivers, fields in Bac Kan

Until the sand ran out, Illegal mining operations along the Cau River, especially in mountainous Bac Kan Province, continued day and night despite an outcry from the media and residents.

The shocking legacy is that once-rich riverside paddy fields are now full of vast holes with bedrock at the bottom.

There were once numerous sand depots along the river's banks in Khuoi Heo, Tong Neng, Na Pam and Khuoi Mat wards.

Today in Tong Neng, an idle sand-mining dredge can be seen sitting in the middle of the river after denuding the banks of sand deposits, according to Hoang Van Mau, a Tong Neng local.

Farmers said riverside fields were once highly fertile, growing corn, potatoes and many other types of vegetables.

Some farmers, for short-term profit, rented their rice paddies to sand miners only to receive barren, wasted land once the sand was removed..

Landslides have been much more frequent along the river since the illegal miners moved in and altered the flow of the river.

Mau said his family and his neighbours lost two rice paddies that were almost ready for harvest.

"Sand trucks even destroyed parts of the concrete road in the area. The road was degraded so badly it became unusable when it rained," said Hoang Thi Xuan, a senior citizen in Khuoi Heo.

Residents filed many complaints about the environmental damage while the mining was going on, but nothing was done.

"Local authorities issued fines and confiscated tools and machines many times, but a few smaller sites are still operating in secret," said Ha Duc Tuyen, chairman of the local People's Committee.

Winners in youth’s creative contest honoured

Authors of 105 winning projects at the 10th national contest for children’s initiatives were honoured at a ceremony in Hanoi on October 12.

The event saw the presence of Politburo member and President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan.

Among 600 models and products sent to the contest, the organising board selected 105 outstanding initiatives for awards, including five first, 10 second, 30 third, and 60 consolation prizes.

Speaking at the ceremony, Nhan praised efforts of the organisers, including the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, the Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of Science and Technology, schools, and parents in creating conditions promoting children’s creativity during the past decade.

He asked the VUSTA and the organising board to invite the country’s largest groups and corporations to attend the contest’s 11th award ceremony, expressing his hope that all provinces and cities across the country would attend the contest in 2015.

Launched in 2004, the contest attracted the participation of 40% of provinces and cities with 84% of them having participated in the 10th contest in 2014.

During the past ten years, winning submissions have been sent to international creative contests for the youth in Thailand, Malaysia, India and Indonesia and brought prizes. This year, three of ten submitted projects were awarded by the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

Six female students competed against each other in the final of Luong Van Can Talent Awards 2014 at HCMC Open University on Tuesday.

After shining in the presentation and question-answer rounds, student Pham Thi Quynh Hoa from HCMC University of Economics and Law won the first prize of VND30 million for her “Loofah - Vietnamese loofah sponge” project.

The second prize, valued at VND25 million, went to the project “Truc Linh jaggery store” of Thach Thi Truc Linh from Dong Thap University, and the third prize, valued at VND20 million, went to Cao Thi Nguyen Nguyen from HCMC University of Foreign Trade with the project “Nguyen Nguyen noodle cart”.

Three fourth prizes, worth VND15 million each, were awarded to Dang Ba Anh Thi with “OPARD.VN – health measurement tool,” Dao Huynh Mai with “The modernized model of waste collection,” and Trinh Thi Hong Nhung with the project of “YOCI education center for the community.”

Unfortunately, there was no winner for the special prize of VND50 million because none of the ideas presented this year are truly extraordinary as they don’t have a concrete competitive advantage and technological orientation, shared Le Truong Tung, chairman of FPT University’s board of directors.

This is the fourth year of Luong Van Can Talent Awards. It was first held in October 2013 and attracted 3,853 students from more than 40 universities and colleges nationwide to take part in the competition. After the contest, prize winners will be included in the Luong Van Can Talent Club as a place to nurture and develop their talent.

Some of the most crucial assessment criteria of each project in the competition are honesty and business ethics, initiated first by late businessman Luong Van Can, who is considered the master of Vietnamese businessmen.

Da Nang to build more storm-resistant shelters

As many as 105 disadvantaged households in eights wards and communes in central Da Nang city are to receive assistance to build storm-resistant shelters between 2014 and 2017, a local conference heard on October 11.

The programme, to be implemented by the Da Nang Women’s Union at a total cost of 3 billion VND (142,857 USD), is an expansion of the project funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, an American philanthropic organisation.

Additionally, the Women’s Union will work together with the Institute for Socio-Economic Transition of America (ISET) in capacity-building activities related to climate change in communities in order to develop efficient adaptation and response measures.

At the conference, ISET coordinator in Vietnam, Ngo Thi Le Mai underlined the need to build such storm-proof houses in Da Nang, which is often hit by intense storms and frequent floods, to ensure safety for local residents and mitigate disaster damages.

The first phase of the project with total investment of more than 7 billion VND (333,300 USD) was implemented between 2011 and 2014, benefiting a total of 320 disadvantaged households in the city.

It has enabled each female representative of low-income households to access a loan of 20–30 million VND to construct a shelter using storm resistant techniques.

The coastal city is one of the first 33 cities to join the Rockefeller Foundation’s global “100 Resilient Cities Challenge” initiative.

The storm resistant shelter project is part of a range of activities launched in Da Nang by the charity.

Result-oriented poverty reduction policies needed: MoLISA

Provinces and cities should categorise poor households accurately to ensure all people living with difficulties will equally benefit from social welfare policies, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) Pham Thi Hai Chuyen has said.

Chuyen stated that the MoLISA had circulated a circular guiding the categorization of households living under or near the poverty line to help with the work.

The document requests each locality establish a list of households whose poverty status will be evaluated publicly.

Any locality that fixes the rate of poor households goes against the regulation, she said, affirming that its list will be rejected.

In the rest of 2014 and the following year, poor people will continuously be provided with assistance in loans, jobs and labour export to improve their lives, the official said.

She went on to say that the MoLISA is studying new criteria for assessing poverty threshold, exploring the aspects of income and access to social welfare as well. If they get the Government’s approval, they will be applied from 2016.

She reiterated Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s directions in the Cabinet’s September meeting that priority will continue to be given to implementing poverty reduction policies in far-flung and mountainous areas in order to narrow the disparity.

The minister also stressed the need to pay attention to people who have just escaped from poverty and those living near the poverty threshold.

Old people play vital role in disaster mitigation

Hundreds of old people in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang and surrounding areas joined a meeting in My Tho city on October 13 in response to the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR).

Tien Giang is one of the three localities in the country (together with central Da Nang city and Thanh Hoa province) selected to celebrate the event, which recognises the vital role of the elderly in implementing the National Strategy for Natural Disaster Prevention, Response and Mitigation towards 2020.

The weather now becomes more and more complicated and unpredictable, particularly in the Mekong River lower section, said Bui Quang Huy, an official from the Natural Disaster Prevention Centre under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, at the meeting.

He stressed the need to build policies and a legal framework encouraging the elderly to share experience in climate change adaptation as they are among the most vulnerable to natural diasters.

Director of Save the Children in Japan Ayka Arai underlined the coordination between sectors, localities and international organisations in raising public awareness of the issue.

With a coastline of 32km, Tien Giang has always grappled with floods, droughts and seawater intrusions, according to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Van Nghia.

Given the fact, the provincial authorities have focused on improving infrastructure and building early warning systems, while including the disaster risk control in the local socio-economic development plans, he added.

50th anniversary of Nguyen Van Troi campaign marked in Venezuela

The Vietnamese Embassy in Venezuela organised a host of activities on October 7 and 9 to mark the 50th anniversary of Venezuela guerillas’ campaign to rescue young Vietnamese patriot Nguyen Van Troi during the war against the US.

On October 9, 1964, Caracas guerillas abducted US lieutenant colonel Michael Smolen to exchange for Nguyen Van Troi, who was sentenced to death by the US and the Saigon puppet government for laying mine on the Cong Ly Bridge to kill US Defence Secretary Robert McNamara.

However, three days after Caracas guerillas released the US hostage on October 12, the US and the Saigon government killed Troi in order to suppress the emerging anti-US movement in Vietnam and around the globe.

To celebrate 50 years since these events took place, activities like photo exhibitions, documentary film screening, musical performances and poetry recitals were jointly carried out by the embassy, the Venezuela-Vietnam Parliamentary Friendship Group, and the Venezuela-Vietnam Friendship Association.

Yul Jabour, President of the Venezuelan National Assembly’s Permanent Commission on Foreign Affairs, and representatives from Venezuelan organisations extolled the Vietnamese people’s traditional patriotism in struggles for the national independence, referring to Nguyen Van Troi’s sacrifice as a shining example.

The Nguyen Van Troi campaign was an important event in the Venezuelan people’s armed fight against imperial intervention in the 60s and also a milestone in the country’s relationship with Vietnam, they said.

Vietnamese Ambassador Ngo Tien Dung thanked the Venezuelan people’s support for Vietnam and emphasised that international solidarity was a vital factor in the country’s nation-building and defence achievements.

Seminar discusses intellectual property

Vietnamese businesses have not paid sufficient attention to protecting their intellectual assets and confidential business information, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Speaking at a seminar on "Intellectual Asset Management and Various Management Tools" held in Ho Chi Minh City on October 10, Deputy Minister Tran Van Tung said asset protection was essential to maintain business competitiveness.

The ministry and other government agencies have organised training programmes to help firms protect their intellectual property.

HCM City pioneered intellectual asset management in the country, seeking to enhance the quality of human resources in the city from 2011 to 2020.

As of September, more than 400 participants have attended the training programme in HCM City, with 120 completing a degree for intellectual asset management.

Saigon University was the first to offer courses on intellectual asset management, said Dao Xuan Vinh of the university.

However, students did not have many opportunities to practise, he said.

In a cooperative programme between the Vietnam National University HCM City and HCM City, the former asked the city government to support two similar training programmes.

The training programmes began this month, serving more than 60 lecturers, researchers and staff at the university.

Tung said the ministry would work with other agencies to expand training courses on intellectual asset management to more areas.

The seminar was jointly organised by the Vietnam Intellectual Property Research Institute and National Agency for Southern Affairs under the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the HCM City Department of Science and Technology.

Meeting marks Int’l Day for Disaster Reduction

More than 800 people, mostly older people, took part in a meeting to mark the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) in southern My Tho City, Tien Giang province on October 13.

This year, the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang is chosen as one of three localities nationwide to host meetings to mark the IDDR with the theme “The elderly with disasters in 2014: Resilience for Life”.

Bui Quang Huy from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), said since 2005, abnormal weather and unpredictable natural disasters have badly affected people’s lives, especially those in coastal, lower course of the Mekong Delta and mountainous areas.

Vietnam should complete its legal framework on natural disaster prevention and encourage the elderly to share experience in proactively adapting to climate change and mitigating natural risks. The elderly are one of most vulnerable groups, therefore they should receive proper care and support in the fight against natural disasters, Huy said.

He hoped that localities across the country will find specific and feasible solutions for climate change adaptation in order to ensure safety for the people in stricken areas.

Ayka Arai, Director of Save the Children Japan, shared experience that Japan gained during its fight for tsunami and earthquake. She heightened close coordination among ministries, departments, localities and international organisations in disseminating information to raise people’s awareness on keeping calm to cope with natural disasters, expanding valuable lessons and protecting vulnerable groups like women, children and the elderly.

Le Van Nghia, Vice Chairman of the Tien Giang provincial People’s Committee, said in addition to completing infrastructure for social welfare, Tien Giang has paid due attention to disseminating information to raise people’s awareness on climate change adaptation, combining disaster management with socio-economic development, accelerating the application of science and technology in natural disaster mitigation, and building early warning system.

Efforts made to realise maritime medicine development strategy

The Vietnam Association of Maritime Medicine (VAMM) has exerted efforts to realise the government’s strategy on developing health care system at sea and islands, said a leader of the association.

It has focused on conducting researches on maritime medicine and training doctors specialising in the field, said Prof. Dr. Nguyen Truong Son, VAMM Chairman at a conference on October 11 in the northern port city of Hai Phong , which sought to better the association’s role in running health care systems at sea and islands.

At the same time, the association has also given attention to enhancing the capacity of medical workers aboard vessels, in particular first-aid skills, he noted.

It has also consulted local governments in coastal localities on how to implement the medical development strategy and raise public awareness of maritime medicine to the utmost, he said.

According to Dr. Pham Le Tuan, Deputy Health Minister, the application of land health care systems to Vietnam ’s sea and island areas has proved not to be suitable.

Meanwhile, the capacity of health care stations in maritime areas is still limited and there is a lack of assets aiding emergency service at sea, he noted.

Dr. Tuan briefed the participants on the contents and results of the Government’s project 371 on developing maritime health care system till 2020.

The project aims at stronger State management over maritime medicine, upgraded health care stations and expanded network of telemedicine centres at hospitals in six coastal localities.

He urged 28 coastal cities and provinces to speed up the issuance of health insurance for fishermen in order to better implement the project.

Safe, friendly school project launched in Hanoi

The Hanoi Department of Education and Training in collaboration with the Non-Governmental Organization Plan in Vietnam launched a safe, friendly and equal school project in Thach That high school in Hanoi on October 11 in response to International Day of the Girl Child.

Principal of Thach That high school Khuat Dang Khoa said he hopes that the project will help enhance the active role of teachers and students in the battle against gender violence in school.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Linh, on behalf of group of young leaders from Thach That high school, noted by taking part in an anti gender violence course, her group get a better understanding about  gender violence and know how to solve this issue toward buiding a friendly, safe and equal school.

On June 12, 2014, the Hanoi Department of Education and Training signed an agreement with Plan International in Vietnam to implement a VND12 billion project to prevent gender violence in schools.

The project is set to attract 30,000 students, 45,000 parents and 500 teachers from 20 secondary and high schools in 16 Hanoi districts.

More young women choose to be promotion girls

Many young Vietnamese women have been trading on their looks to become promotion girls to earn money in a tough economic climate.

Being a promotion girl entails direct interaction with potential customers, but perhaps more importantly, dressing up in alluring clothes that feature the label of the product they are selling. Essentially they rent out their sex appeal to any given brand; anything from bikinis and skin cream to electronics.

Although requirements vary, some of the most common are a minimum height of 1m60, a "good-looking face", attractive figure and no aversion to wearing skimpy clothes. After sending in their information such as height and weight, if a girl is chosen she will make no less than VND1 million (USD47.6) per shift.

Models regularly have to sit for hours for the application of make-up that is up to the standards of the employer.

Many girls express their interest these jobs because of the relatively good pay, with some even making their phone numbers public so any employer can easily contact them.

Dieu Linh, a final-year student at a university in Hanoi, has two-years of experience working as a promotion girl. She has worked as a model for advertising soft drinks and electronic products. She has recently moved to work as a bikini model so she can earn more. “It’s quite an easy job. You just need to wear the clothes and pose for a while and you have some income," said Linh.

A number of models who advertise skin and hair products have said that despite the easy money and handsome income compared to other jobs, they also face risks such as unexpected reactions to the heavy cosmetics.

 

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

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