A ceremony was held in Hanoi on Dec. 20 to mark 50 years since Vietnam launched a family planning policy.

Addressing the event, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien congratulated those who work in the population and family planning sector, saying that the sector has made great contributions to the nation’s socio-economic development.

Over the past 50 years, the Population and Family Planning sector has helped reduce the average number of children born per woman in the productive age from 6.3 to 2, raise the average life expectancy from 40 to 73, and lower the population growth rate from 3.5 percent in the 1960s to 1.5 percent in 2010.

The same day, State President Truong Tan Sang conferred the sector an Independence Order, First Class, in recognition of its efforts./.