Twenty-five cyclists from the UK will arrive in the central city of Da Nang on May 26, completing a 10-day, 1,500 km ride from the northern province of Lao Cai.

Besides sponsorship from multi-national companies, the cyclists have personally raised 135,000 USD for an 18-month neonatal training programme from the UK 's Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU).

"This training will help raise standards of neonatal care in central Vietnam," said Pham Hung Chien, head of the Da Nang health department.

Nursing skills are critical to newborns' survival – inadequate training and skills have been a major reason for the slow progress in reducing neonatal deaths so far.

Debra Teasdale, dean of CCCU's Faculty of Health and Social Care, said: "We are really proud to be leading such a critical project of change which will benefit nurses, infants and their families in Vietnam."

The UK cyclists include Mike Hall, who last year broke the world record for circumnavigating the globe by bicycle, travelling 29,000 km in 92 days. He is joined by fellow round-the-world cyclist Richard Dunnett.-VNA