Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien urged the General Department of Population and Family Planning to improve its services at the local level while attending a conference in Hanoi on January 20.

The official hailed the sector’s 2014 efforts to reduce the birth rate by 0.01 percent and have a ratio of 112.2 boys per 100 girls, compared to 112.5 boys in 2013.

The department successfully managed its human resources and called for assistance from the Government, localities, organisations, and individuals to ensure social welfares across the country, Deputy Head Nguyen Van Tan said.

However, restrictions remain, such as low wages for collaborative staff and a reduction in its communications budget, affecting the outcomes of population and family planning programmes.

Looking forward, Minister Tien asked the department to provide high-quality family planning services and popularise measures against unplanned pregnancy.

In 2015, the sector aims to reduce the crude birth rate by 0.01 percent and increase the rate of pregnant women receiving prenatal health check-ups to 15 percent from the current 10 percent.

The department proposed the Government increase its investment in population-related work and ratify the gender imbalance control project between 2014 and 2020 while adopting policies to support impoverished ethnic minority women and calling for international assistance in the field.-VNA