Campaign on family planning, women’s health

Health authorities in 28 coastal cities and provinces will set up mobile teams by the end of next month to spread knowledge on prenatal and paediatric health care.

The teams are part of the population planning programme for islands and coastal areas until 2020, issued by the Ministry of Health, said programme director Do Ngoc Tan.

The mobile teams, which will include officials from local hospitals, health centres and population and family planning centres, will visit companies, offices, businesses and households to help educate residents o­n reproductive health and family planning.

Team members will be equipped with contraceptives and medicine and will instruct locals o­n their proper use.

In addition, cities and provinces will offer check ups and investigate the health and environmental factors, which can lead to birth defects, especially in women who live in polluted areas.

The provinces will hold talks o­n preventing sexually transmitted diseases and implementing family planning. The team will focus o­n women between 15 and 24 years old who don’t work or have unstable jobs.

"These women often get married early and don’t know much about reproductive health," said Tan.

"Each province will set up its own website, and frequently update information about local activities, so the programme management board can assess the situation in every province."

The General Office for Population and Family Planning was compiling a book, posters and leaflets to be distributed to target groups with information about the programme, Tan said.

"Provinces will edit the document to make them suitable for the local population, and deliver them to every commune," he said.

The office would co-ordinate with relevant bodies to make reports and documentaries o­n reproductive health and broadcast them to reach island residents and those o­n coastal areas.

The population-control programme, known as Programme 52, kicked off o­n June 16 in the central province of Nghe An.

The State budget for the programme is VND66 billion (US$3.7 million). VND46.55 billion ($2.5 million) was allocated to the 28 cities and provinces and the remaining VND19.45 billion ($1.08 million), to the General Office for Family Planning, according to Tan.

The programme’s overall goal is to stabilise the birth rate and improve the standard of living in coastal and island areas.

At present, coastal cities and provinces account for 34.6 per cent of the country’s population — over 29 million people.

The programme will try to keep the population under 37 million through 2020.