Needy and disabled children will be the focus of many long-term and short-term programmes that HCM City will begin implementing by the end of this year, according to the municipal Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs.

These include a five-year programme on child protection that has been approved by the municipal People's Committee, another on providing care to HIV/AIDS afflicted children by 2020, and a pilot programme to disseminate provisions of the juvenile delinquency law among youth aged under 18 in district 1 and Binh Thanh district.

In a report submitted at a workshop held to review child protection and care in the first nine months of the year, the department also said that the city will continue to review and issue health insurance cards for children under six years old.

As of June, the department had cooperated with the districts' social insurance offices to provide health cards to 435,877 children in the below-six age group.

In the first nine months of this year, the department provided counselling to 4,765 children and their families on issues relating to labour and sexual abuse, health insurance policies and heart surgeries.

It also worked with hospitals to perform surgeries on 67 needy children with congenital heart diseases.

The report said that the department had cooperated with local authorities in districts with a high record of child abuse to check the use of child labour in their localities.

It carried out inspections at children's shelters to investigate issues relating to maltreatment and taking undue advantage of children to make profit.

The department also strengthened awareness campaigns on the laws relating to children's education, care and protection, and disseminated information on HIV/AIDS prevention.

It cooperated with the HCM Communist Youth Union to organise entertainment programmes for 2,000 needy and disabled children at the Dam Sen Park in district 11 and presented them with scholarships, bicycles and wheelchairs.

It worked with the Save the Children Fund Vietnam to present notebooks and textbooks to children living with HIV/AIDS in Go Vap district.

The city spent more than 5.7 billion VND (274,038 USD) to organise entertainment activities for needy and disabled children for the Tet (lunar New Year) holiday, International Children's Day, summer holiday and the Mid-Autumn Festival. /.