More work needed to improve population quality: official hinh anh 1Newborns at the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. (Photo: VNA)

Ninh Binh (VNS/VNA) - Although Vietnam has obtained some achievements in improving the quality of its population, there is still room for improvement, said Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen.

He made the statement at a meeting which was held last week to review the performance of population and family planning work in the first half of this year.

Despite the fact that over the past six months, the agencies focused on COVID-19 prevention and combat, and the whole country exercised social distancing as requested by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Vietnam has achieved positive results in the work, Tuyen said.

More than 361,000 pregnant mothers have been screened before giving birth, reaching 66 percent of the set target for the year while the number of people who started using modern contraceptive measures was 4.4 million, accounting for 88 percent of the desired target.

According to Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan, deputy head of the General Office for Population and Family Planning, population and family planning work have yielded achievements in recent years. The replacement fertility rate – the average number of children born per woman – has been maintained for 14 years. The average population growth rate in the 2009-2019 period was 1.44 percent per year. Child mortality and maternal mortality rates have both decreased while life expectancy has increased.

However, she said, the population work faced many challenges as it enters a new phase.

Tuyen, agreed, saying a number of goals haven’t been met.

For example, the number of children born in the first six months of this year increased by 1.9 percent compared to the same period last year. The sex ratio at birth was still unbalance – 110.1 boys were born for every 100 girls.

The rates of screening for detecting diseases among newborns reached only 32 percent of the set target.

Resources for the population work at all levels have been significantly reduced, which affected the implementation of action programmes and strategies.

Currently, there are 48 provinces and cities that have not yet issued a plan to implement the Vietnam Population Strategy by 2030 and 50 provinces and cities have not yet issued a plan to implement the population communication programme to the 2030 under the guidance of the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Participants at the meeting also talked about difficulties in the implementation of the population work, sharing experiences as well as finding solutions to accomplish the assigned tasks.

Tuyen put forward a number of measures to iron out snags in the country’s population and planning work.

He suggested the General Office for Population and Family Planning work with the MoH and relevant agencies in accomplishing resolutions on population work, promptly submitting a population projection for Vietnam by 2030.

He asked provinces and cities to actively develop a funding plan on population activity by 2025 and include population indicators in the Party Congress’ resolutions at all levels.

Tuyen also called for the adoption of measures to change people's behaviour and awareness on population work in the new situation./.