Unbalanced sex ratio at birth raises alarm in Vietnam hinh anh 1Infant care at the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Photo: VNA)

Vinh Phuc (VNA) –
The unbalanced sex ratio at birth is expanding quickly, particularly in the Red River Delta, stressed Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien.

He raised the alarm at a conference held in the northern province of Vinh Phuc on May 23 to review outcomes of a project on controlling the imbalance for 2016 – 2025.

The main reason behind the problem is the deeply-rooted preference for sons, the Deputy Minister said, adding that the situation is made more complicated by the easier access to affordable sex-determination and sex-selection technology that allows couples to pursue their desire for one or more sons. To date, there are yet any sanctions imposed to deter the practice.

According to the General Office for Population and Family Planning (GOPFP), after one year of implementation, 38 provinces and cities have included criteria on controlling the imbalance of sex ratio at birth in their socio-economic development plan, while 26 others have allocated part of the local budget to finance the project.

During the period, the GOPFP has organised more than 20,000 seminars, workshops and conferences on the subject, disseminating knowledge about the population law to nearly 700,000 people.

The agency also carried out 3,667 inspections targeting medical facilities offering ultrasound scans and abortion services.

However, the outcome left little to be optimistic. In 2014, 15 out of 63 provinces and cities nationwide reported the ratio of 115 male births to 100 female births. The number decreased to 13 in 2015 before rising to 22 last year.

The GOPFP explained that in 2016, the project’s agenda mostly focused on guiding localities in drafting out plans of actions. Funding was not distributed until October, thus a number of activities could not be carried out.

Participating experts from the EU and UN Population Fund and Republic of Korea shared their experience on measures to reduce unbalanced sex ratio at birth in the world, suggesting some advice for Vietnam.-VNA