Grade 1 students of the Ly Thai To Primary School in Hanoi. (Illustrative photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Hanoi will crackdown and strictly fine those providing early gender indications of foetuses through ultrasound scans, said Nguyen Dinh Lan, deputy head of the city’s Population and Family Planning Department.

The city authorities have also tasked district-level agencies with regularly inspecting State-owned and private obstetrical health centres and clinics to ensure no illicit gender preference is practised.

The planned August-September crackdown is not the first effort by the city to deal with the gender imbalance in the capital.

In 2015, a private obstetrical clinic in Ha Dong district was fined 40 million VND (1,900 USD) and forced to suspend operations after informing parents of the gender of their foetuses.

However, Lan said investigations at health centres are difficult. The city only prosecuted two cases in 2015, while the real figure of violations must be higher. To solve the problem, traditional attitudes about the role of women in family and society must be changed, women’s autonomy must be encouraged as well as leadership roles for women in and outside the family.

Lan said the gender imbalance at birth in the capital city of Hanoi continues to increase, while the gender ratio at birth is consistently higher than the country’s average.

The current gender ratio at birth in the city is 114.4 boys to100 girls, against the country average of 112.2 boys to 100 girls.

Since 2009, the ratio in Hanoi has fluctuated between 114-118 boys to 100 girls, while the country ratio has changed from 106.2 boys to 100 girls- to 112.2 boys to 100 girls.

In Hanoi, the number of births has declined but the rate of third children is still high (accounting for 7.53 percent of total births).

The desire of more and more two-girl families for a son to maintain the continuity of the family line is the main cause for the sex imbalance in Hanoi, according to Lan.

The official said the unbalanced sex ratio at birth would negatively affect Vietnam’s population makeup in the future, resulting in an excess of men.-VNA