Region lung health conference in capital to focus on new technology
The fourth Union Asia Pacific Region Conference on Lung Health (APRC 2013) started yesterday, April 10, in Ha Noi.
With a focus on new technology for treating tuberculosis and lung diseases, the four-day conference attracted participants from more than 30 countries, including the US, Pakistan and Cambodia. Tuberculosis is a growing problem in Viet Nam and is affecting increasingly younger people, said associate professor Dinh Ngoc Sy, the conference’s president. Every year, about 3,000 cases of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis were reported.
Deputy chair of the Ha Noi People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc pledged to support the health sector’s anti-tuberculosis activities.
The city devotes significant resources to the health sector in general, she added, as well as to preventing tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.
Vladimir Anikin, consultant thoracic surgeon at the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital in London said that tobacco smoking was the number one risk factor for lung cancer.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention warns that tobacco smoking causes about 90 per cent of lung cancer cases. People who smoke are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer or die from lung cancer than people who do not smoke.
Every year about 100,000 tuberculosis cases are detected, according to health sector statistics. The World Health Organisation ranks Viet Nam 12th out of 22 countries by tuberculosis cases and 14th of 22 countries when it comes to multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis.
HCM City sets stage for cheap chips
he country’s hi-tech semi-conductor industry should take steps to pave the way for the development of the IT industry, according to Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan.
An engineer of the Intergrated Circuit Design Research and Education Centre in HCM City works in a semiconductor testing room. The city targets an annual sales turn over of US$120 million from its intergrated circuit industry by 2020.
Speaking at a meeting with representatives of the city’s People’s Committee on Tuesday, Nhan said the city should use new technologies to design and produce inexpensive and market-competitive chips.
Nhan said the city should also review its programme for development of its chip-manufacturing industry in the 2013-20 period, especially for consumption markets and competitiveness.
Le Manh Ha, deputy chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said the city began focusing on the chip manufacturing industry after the Government recognised integrated circuit chips as a “national product”.
The city targets an annual sales turnover of US$120 million from its integrated circuit industry by 2020.
The city also has a plan to attract at least five multinational groups and create favourable conditions to establish 25 businesses in the semi-conductor industry.
The city will also build an integrated-circuit plant that can manufacture 1.8 billion chips and provide training for 2,000 engineers and technicians for the industry annually.
According to figures released at the establishment of the HCM City Semi-conductor Industry Association in March, the city’s chip industry development programme targets a revenue of $100-150 million by 2017, train 2,000 IT engineers and technicians, and nurture 30 chip businesses at an initial cost of VND7.5 trillion ($357 million).
The Sai Gon Industry Corporation will invest VND6 trillion ($285 million) in a chip production plant in the Sai Gon Hi-Tech Park, providing about 1.8 billion chips for the domestic market and revenue of about $90 million each year.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong, who spoke at the meeting on Tuesday, said the city should decide whether the integrated-circuit chips were being made with the aim of reducing imports or expanding exports.
Farmers, ethnic groups to be briefed on laws
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked authorities from all sectors and localities to overhaul efforts to help farmers and ethnic groups to get to know their legitimate rights written in laws.
Officials in northern Dien Bien Province in a meeting to raise legal knowledge for local ethnic minority people. — Photo baodienbienphu.info.vn
Phuc was speaking at a tele-conference in the capital city yesterday to review four years of implementing Project 554 on disseminating laws to farmers and ethnic minorities from 2009-12.
He emphasised the imperative to have good co-ordination between government agencies from the centre down to the grassroots levels during the project implementation.
“To achieve the project’s objectives, you should diversify the communication methods to make them suitable to the real situation in each locality,” Phuc said.
He asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rual Development (MARD) to work closely with relevant ministries and sectors to implement the 2nd phase of the project (2013-16).
A report presented by MARD Vice Minister Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu said that in the past four years, the project established 10 demonstration models for farmers and ethnic minorities nation-wide, while nearly 179,000 meetings with the attendance of 11.5 million people were organised.
Thu said that in the period under review, 245 competitions on legal knowledge were organised with more than 2.2 million entrants.
Deputy Minister of Justice Nguyen Thuy Hien complained about the snail-like progress of the project.
“By now just about 50 per cent of the set targets are achieved. And only 35 out of 63 provinces and cities nation-wide have approved the projects,” Hien said.
Regarding activities for the next four years (2013-16), Thu said the project would focus on some key activities, including a survey on need assessment on legal document dissemination for people living in the countryside, and ethnic minority people.
He also mentioned the need of scaling up successful demonstration projects to other localities, particularly disadvantaged and remote areas in the 28 pilot provinces.
“By the end of 2016, the project hopes to raise the legal knowledge coverage of people living in rural areas to 70 per cent, and 60 per cent for ethnic people living in disadvantaged communes, districts and off-shore islands,” said Thu.
Focus of project 554 is on transport and food safety, domestic violence, land law, freedom of religion and beliefs and others.
Exhibition showcases Australian science and technology
An exhibition to spur youth interest in the sciences was held at Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST) on April 10.
The event is part of activities marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Australia (1973-2013).
At the exhibition, Professor Graham Durant from the Australian National Science and Technology Centre (Questacon) explained that the centre is famous for interactive exhibits and models which offer opportunities for children to discover and learn about scientific matters.
In addition, Questacon has implemented experimental programs and organised seminars to improve the capacity of local science teachers and discussed with representatives in charge of education, science and culture to discuss scientific communications.
The event aims to tighten educational partnerships between Vietnam and Australia and encourage passion for science and technology among youths and children.
Professor Graham Durant said that he has compiled an English-Vietnamese bilingual science book to assist Vietnamese schools to teach science in English.
The exhibition will be held across several universities from April 10-12. It will then be open to the public from April 13 at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology.
Seminar events will also be scheduled to take place at the University of Da Nang from April 16-18 and RMIT University in HCM City from April 24-27.
Hotline set up for pot holes, fallen trees
A hotline that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that takes complaints and suggestions on problems related to infrastructure and other facilities, began operating in HCM City early this month.
The information centre with 30 operators take calls about falling trees, cracks and holes in roads, and problems related to public light and water supply systems.
HCM City is the first locality in the country to set up a hotline for such emergency issues.
Since April 2, the information centre has received 658 phone calls that have mostly been about traffic, public lighting and drainage systems.
Le Quoc Cuong, deputy director of HCM City’s Department of Information and Communications, said the hotline received 15 calls on the first day of operation.
Before the hotline was created, each sector, including transport, electricity, water supply and public services, had its own phone number to receive information or complaints from the public.
The new hotline number (08- 39111333), was initially used by the HCM City Electricity Company for its own purposes, but the city government decided to use it as a central calling point for all sectors.
The city said the hotline would help resolve problems promptly and prevent fatalities and property losses. In the future, a shorter telephone number will be available to help residents remember it easily.
A website for the information centre is under construction.
According to Le Manh Ha, deputy chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, the hotline would help local departments and agencies complete their tasks.
HCM City has more than 30 hotlines, but with one central number, residents will be able to remember it more easily, city officials said.
Localities strengthen defence against bird flu
Central Danang city and Binh Dinh province are actively bracing for the fight against avian influenza H7N9 and H5N1 in the face of the diseases’ complicated developments.
The Danang municipal Health Department has instructed more educational campaigns on the diseases and more training for health workers at grassroots level to promptly detect any infection in residential areas.
It also approved a proposal to upgrade Danang Maternity and Children Hospital’s tropical disease department to serve the treatment of bird flu patients when necessary. In the near future, the department will enhance supervision at airports and seaports.
Pham Hung Chien, Director of the municipal Health Department pledged to mobilise all material and human resources to prevent and fight the dangerous diseases.
Meanwhile, the Binh Dinh provincial health sector also asked relevant agencies to keep an eye on the situation, and promptly detect those infected with H5N1 and H7N9 viruses for timely treatment.
All people are urged to visit the nearest medical station when they show symptoms of high temperatures, cough, eye sore and breathing difficulty.
The provincial veterinary facilities are also instructed to monitor situation in localities, inoculate poultry with vaccine, and assign more forces to clamp down on the transport and slaughtering of poultry whose origin are ambiguous.
Advisory council to help cut red tape
“Administrative procedures in Viet Nam are still costly and time-consuming, making us less competitive than other countries,” said Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
His words marked the beginning of an uphill battle for the Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform, which officially made its debut yesterday. The council, which consists of 26 offices, aims to improve dialogue between the Government, businesses and the people.
Led by Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong, it will advise the Prime Minister on important matters related to administrative procedures nation-wide.
The council will keep track of the progress made by the ministries and local authorities in implementing administrative reforms and come up with new initiatives for such reforms.
Speaking at the ceremony, Phuc highlighted the council’s responsibility to promote the role of independent consultants in establishing national standards for administrative procedure reform.
Cutting red tape had been a key part of the overarching national programme on administrative procedure reforms during the last decade and would continue to be in this decade, the deputy prime minister said. Doing so would improve the investment environment and make public services cheaper and more transparent.
Girl rescued after being kidnapped
The Ha Giang Border Guards, in co-ordination with the Chinese Border Guards, successfully rescued a 19-year-old girl who was kidnapped and taken to China yesterday afternoon, April 10.
The ethnic Mong minority victim, from Quyet Tien Commune, Quan Ba District in the northern mountainous of Ha Giang, was anaesthetised while she was working at home on March 27. Her family’s acquaintance saw her in China and reported to the border guards.
Two hours after receiving the information, the border guards discovered the victim being detained in Yunnan Province.
Colonel Nguyen Ngoc Chau, from the Ha Giang Border Guards headquarters, said that communication and efforts been increased since the beginning of the year in order to prevent and control human trafficking via border gates.
More publicity on gender issues urged
More journalists in Viet Nam should be involved in writing about gender and gender-equality issues, experts said at a workshop held in HCM City yesterday.
Speaking at the two-day seminar, local officials from Viet Nam’s Gender Equality Department said the country had a detailed plan to integrate the gender dimension into mass media.
They said more stories about women’s issues had appeared in national and local publications in recent years.
This follows the global trend, which shows the number of stories on women rising from 17 per cent in 1995 to 24 per cent in 2010, according to a report from the Global Media Monitoring Project.
In Viet Nam, the figure was about 25 per cent in 2010, said Cao Ho Thu Thuy, gender specialist with the national Research Centre for Gender, Family, and Environment in Development.
Fewer stories about women in the media are partly due to the fact that men hold the vast majority of seats in national legislatures and in management in most areas in the world.
Advertisements and some stories in the media in Viet Nam, still show gender prejudice, according to several speakers.
Nguyen Thuc Hanh, editor-in-chief of Phu Nu Viet Nam (Viet Nam’s Women) newspaper, said that journalists lacked knowledge about gender issues.
Many journalists working at her newspaper have told her that gender-issue stories were not “hot topics” and that readers were not that interested in them.
The country’s Department of Press and Publications said that women have equal access to media sources, citing the country’s 65 broadcast stations and televisions and 700 newspaper companies with more than 1,000 publications.
Of the 17,765 members of the Viet Nam Journalists Association, 30 per cent are women.
The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and Norway’s Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion.
University dominates sustainable shelter contest
Students from Van Lang University won three out of four awards in the “Sustainable Shelter in an Age of Climate Change and Disaster” design contest yesterday.
The first prize went to the Floating Market House designed by Nguyen Hong Qun and Tran Truong Thuy Nhi. The two students drew inspiration from the Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho (the Mekong Delta).
“We wanted to create a shelter to ensure that people were comfortable in the dry season and safe in the flood season while preserving the unique culture of the Mekong Delta,” said Nhi.
The simple, sustainable design has a modest cost of VND100 million (US$4,800).
“This project provides the best response to the selection criteria. We asked for houses to be resilient to extreme climate conditions, minimise environmental impact, effectively use locally-sourced building materials and be easy to build,” said Sattawat Thitaram, Viet Nam director for SCG Building Materials.
SCG will use the winning design to build houses for people in disaster-affected areas.
Launched last November, the contest attracted 26 teams from six Vietnamese universities. It was jointly organised by SCG and Habitat for Humanity Vietnam.
EU, Luxembourg donate medical equipment
The European Union (EU) Delegation and the Embassy of Luxembourg in Vietnam on April 10 donated medical equipment and instruments worth nearly US$6.78 million to the Ministry of Health.
The donation was part of a US$19.3 million health sector capacity support project jointly funded by the EU and Luxembourg with the aim of improving curative care and preventive medical services in Vietnamese communes and districts.
“The EU considers that as a middle income country, Vietnam should ensure that its citizens have equal and fair access to quality medical services throughout the country,” said Ambassador – Head of the EU Delegation Franz Jessen.
“Therefore, the EU will, in the future, concentrate its support on ensuring better quality of services in villages, communes and districts in the poorest provinces,” he stressed.
The equipment includes imaging diagnostic systems, laboratory machines and essential medical instruments.
It will be delivered to three pilot provinces of Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Ha Nam , as well as nine partnering provinces of Bac Kan, Yen Bai, Dien Bien, Son La, Lai Chau, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Vinh Long and Kien Giang.
A number of clinical and para-clinical training courses will be organised to ensure proper management of the equipment, aiming to improve the quality of essential health care offered to patients.
Relocated residents receive support
The central Quang Nam Province in association with Electricity of Viet Nam and the investor of the Song Tranh 2 hydro-power plant project helped to relocate 70 local residents to their new residential areas on Tuesday.
The families were living outside the wetland of the hydro-power plant so they received neither compensation nor support to move from the area.
Residents in Tra Bui Commune’s Ong Sang Village were given total financial support of VND720 million ($34,000) to relocate to more convenient areas in terms of traffic and education.
Many residents living close to the plant had been affected by minor earthquakes.
Smuggled mobile phones seized
Nearly 4,000 mobile phones without legal proof of origin had been found in a residential house in Hai Ba Trung District, Ha Noi Market Watch said yesterday, April 10.
The phones, produced by foreign manufacturers and packed in 20 boxes, were uncovered on the third floor of the house.
The products’ owner, who was not present at the time of inspection, was Chinese, according to local authorities.
The phones, which are estimated to be worth around VND3.8 billion (US$180,000), have been handed over to the police for further investigation.