Vietnamese still producing more boys as concern grows

Newborn babies are cared for at the Central Obstetrics Hospital in Hà Nội. Fifty per cent of the provinces and cities still have high sex imbalance ratio at birth. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Ngọc

Sex imbalance at birth, with more boys than girls being born, is increasing rapidly and becoming a serious issue in Việt Nam, especially in the Red River Delta.

The warning was issued by Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Viết Tiến at a seminar to review the implementation of a project on control of gender imbalance at birth in the 2016-25 period.

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The seminar was co-organised by the General Department of Population and Family Planning of the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the European Union in Vĩnh Phúc Province on Tuesday.

Sex imbalance at birth is caused by the longstanding habit of preferring males to females, the deputy minister said.

Meanwhile, there was no sanction yet on the practice of sex determination. People, in fact, had easier access to affordable sex-determination and sex-selection technology, which allowed couples to pursue their desire for sons, he said.

The seminar also highlighted the fact that more than 50 per cent of the provinces and cities have a higher sex imbalance ratio at birth annually despite implementing several solutions.

In 2014, 15 out of 63 provinces and cities had a sex ratio at birth of 115 males per 100 females.

The number decreased to 13 provinces in 2015 before rising to 22 in 2016.

According to the General Office for Population and Family Planning (GOPFP), after one year of implementation, 38 provinces and cities included criteria on controlling the imbalance of sex ratio at birth in their socio-economic development plan, while 26 others used part of the local budget for the project.

During the period, the GOPFP organised more than 20,000 seminars, workshops and conferences on the subject, disseminating knowledge about the population law to nearly 700,000 people.

The agency also carried out over 3,660 inspections targeting medical facilities offering ultrasound scans and abortion services. However, the outcome left little to be optimistic about.

The GOPFP explained that in 2016, the project’s agenda mostly focused on guiding localities on drafting plans of actions. Difficulties in funding also meant a number of activities could not be carried out.

At the seminar, experts shared their experience on measures to reduce the unbalanced sex ratio at birth in the region and the world, also sharing some advice for Việt Nam.

Several experience of the provinces and cities in implementing the project were shared at the workshop.

— VNS

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