A doctor performs an ultrasound on a pregnant women to check for birth defects. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The capital city of Hanoi will invest over 160 billion VND, or 7.18 million USD, in an initiative to boost the early detection of birth defects in the city between 2016 and 2020.

The project will be carried out across 30 districts and 584 communes and towns of the city in an attempt to provide at least 80 percent of local expectant women with prenatal screenings and at least 85 percent of infants with newborn screenings. About half of the newborns will also receive screenings for congenital heart defects.

The screening enables the early detection and intervention of birth defects and disorders or genetic abnormalities during pregnancy and after birth in order to reduce the number of people with disabilities and improve the city’s population quality.

The funding will be used to raise public awareness of the importance of prenatal and newborn screenings. The city aims to have at least 90 percent of local pregnant women access professional advices on the issue.

In addition, Hanoi will provide further training for its medical officials and staff and purchase more equipment for prenatal and newborn screenings, particularly in the Hanoi Obstetrics & Gynecology Hospital.

It will also provide hearing screenings for babies aged 0-60 months and Thalassemia tests for junior and senior high school students in disadvantaged districts.-VNA