|Teenagers learn about health knowledge at a consultation station in Ha Ba Trung district of Hanoi
According to the municipal Department of Health, the city achieved the population and family planning targets set for 2018, including the birth rate reduced by 0.17 per mille from the previous year to 15.13 per mille, the number of third children born down by 0.1 percent, and the sex ratio at birth down to 113 males per 100 females.
While the prenatal screening rate reached 76 percent of the pregnant women, the newborn screening rate rose to 84.1 percent. Hanoi also carried out hearing screening for more than 193,390 cases, thalassemia screening for 7,500 cases and congenital heart defect screening for almost 35,360 cases.
Head of the sub-department for population and family planning Ta Quang Huy noted that in the first half of 2019, about 49,380 babies were born in Hanoi, up 2,786 from the same period last year. Among these, 3,820 were at least the third child in their families, rising by 252. The sex ratio at birth was 110.9 males per 100 females.
Meanwhile, the prenatal screening rate approximated 81 percent of the pregnant women, and that for the newborn surpassed 84 percent.
He said that Hanoi has stepped up communication activities and the provision of population-related services in all the 30 district-level localities, involving 547 out of the 584 communes, wards and townships.
Refresher courses have been held to improve population workers’ knowledge about reproductive health care and family planning. Relevant units have also increased examining the management of contraceptive methods in all the district-level localities.
Additionally, a number of plans have been implemented to help promote population quality, including those on prenatal and newborn screening, health care for the elderly, developing Hanoians’ strength and stature, and engaging the private sector in the provision of birth control methods and family planning services.
However, there remain a number of difficulties facing the city, including high sex ratio at birth, partly due to the rapid population growth. In many cases, cadres or civil servants who are familiar with the State’s policies and laws are those giving birth to a third child, Huy noted.
Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Health Hoang Duc Hanh, who is also deputy head of Hanoi’s steering board for population and family planning affairs, said the city has applied many population-related models like those caring for reproductive health of adolescents and youth, and those providing premarital consultation and medical check-ups.
Relevant agencies and organisations have also worked to popularise knowledge about reproductive health, family planning and gender equality to workers in industrial parks and women of reproductive age.
In face of the existing difficulties, he stressed the need for more measures to be carried out to improve population quality.
In 2019, the local health sector will work to reduce the birth rate by 0.1 per mille and the number of third children born by 0.1 percent year on year. Meanwhile, it will also take actions to raise the number of old people receiving regular health check-ups by 0.6 percent.
Localities and relevant agencies will also step up dissemination and consultation provision to boost public awareness of population quality and sex ratios at birth, especially among the groups with the high risk of having a third child, the official noted.
Hanh added to help narrow down the gender gap at birth, authorities have also been ordered to enhance inspection and examination of private health facilities to ensure that they seriously comply with legal regulations on population, including not practicing prenatal sex selection.