SOCIETY IN BRIEF 20/4

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Communists banned from having 5 children

Party members who give birth to the fifth child will be expelled from the Communist Party of Vietnam according to a recent amendment to a Politburo regulation.

The Politburo has issued a decision to amend Article 7 of its Regulation No. 94 on disciplinary actions against Party members who violate the national policy on population and family planning.

Accordingly, Party members who give birth to the fifth child or more will be expelled from the Party.

In the event that Party members give birth to the fourth child, they will be subject to a warning or dismissal.

Meanwhile, a reprimand will be imposed on Party members who give birth to the third child.

A reprimand will also be given to Party members who conduct acts of preventing family planning activities or acts of manufacturing, trading, importing or providing contraceptive means that are fake, of poor quality, out of date, or not yet approved for use in Vietnam.

Lao Cai cancels 39 hydroelectric projects

The northern province of Lao Cai has decided to cancel 39 hydroelectric projects because of the environmental harm they could do.

These projects affect protected forests, landscapes and historical monuments, said Le Ngoc Hung, Director of the local Department of Industry and Trade.

The province has approved 122 hydroelectric projects, however, after careful consideration, local authorities decided to stop 39 of them, including eight in Sa Pa District, 12 in Bat Xat District, four in Bao Yen District, three in Muong Khuong District, nine in Van Ban District and three in Bac Ha District.

The cancelled project with largest capacity is Nam Chac 1, in Bat Xat District with 6.6MW and the one with the smallest capacity is Nam Kha in Bac Ha District with 0.63MW.

Small-scale hydroelectric plants have destroyed thousands of hectares of forest in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam, said Vu Huy Hoang, Minister of Industry and Trade. Hoang cited scientists’ estimates that at least 1,000-2,000 hectare of upper forests must be cleared to have 1,000 ha of land for building such a plant.

Hanoi brothers nabbed for robbing sex worker

Two biological brothers have been arrested for robbing a sex worker at a hotel in Ba Dinh District’s Kim Ma Ward in Hanoi.

Police announced Friday the culprits are Nguyen Duc Hoang, 31 and Nguyen Hoang Ninh, 22, who resides at Trung Phung Ward, Dong Da District.

At the police station, they admitted to robbing an expensive Piaggio Liberty motorbike and a cell phone from Dinh Thi My H, 38-year-old sex worker.

They said H agreed to have sex with them at a hotel in Van Cao Street on April 13 early dawn.

After H entered the hotel room, they pretended to ask her to wash a bath towel. They then sprayed tear gas on her.

They were arrested one day later.

Police are commencing criminal proceedings against them.

Hanoi hospital did 4 simultaneous transplants

Four patients receiving new organs in four simultaneous transplants performed by surgeons at Viet Duc Hospital earlier this week has recovered well.

The transplanted organs were donated by a 30-year-old man, who suffered from brain death after a traffic accident, said Doctor Nguyen Tien Quyet, head of the hospital.

His heart, liver and two kidneys have helped save the lives of four dying patients then hospitalized at Viet Duc hospital and his corneas were also received by the Central Eye hospital.

To carry out the operations at the same time, the general hospital had to deploy more than 150 doctors and medical staff divided into four surgical teams.

Health Minister Nguyen Quoc Trieu paid the recovering patients a visit on Friday.

Roller rolls over woman to death

A road roller yesterday morning ran over a 62-year-old woman in a scary accident at a streetside market located at the foot of a bridge in Mong Tho B Commune, Chau Thanh Disttrict, Mekong Delta’s Kien Giang Province.

The driver fled the scene shortly after the heavy roller hit Tan Loi stationery store along National Road no. 80.

Eyewitnesses said probably due to the broken brakes, the driver lost control of the vehicle when it was moving down the bridge.

People at the market hysteriacally ran away from the scene when seeing the uncontrollable roller approaching, except for the woman victim.

Ministry ban diet pills

Reductil produced by Abbott Laboratories will be withdrawn from the market Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has decided to withdraw all diet pills containing anorexic sibutramine from the market Friday.

The appetite suppressant sibutramine is believed to cause serious side effects such as heart attacks and strokes, especially to patients with a history of cardiovascular disease.

Best known as the main ingredient in diet pills such as Reductil produced by Abbott Laboratories, sibutramine, an oral anorexiant, causes loss of appetite, food consumption and thus, weight loss in patients using them.

It has been withdrawn from the market in the United States, the UK, EU, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Mexico and India.

Food Safety and Hygiene alert in country

The Hanoi-based Bach Mai hospital has reported more than 10 cases of food poisoning within the past week.

Most of the food poison victims are hospitalized because of eating stale and fermented food.

Even though the “Month of Action for Food Safety and Hygiene 2011” has been launched throughout the country, eateries and restaurants have failed to meet the food hygiene and safety requirements. For instance, the Hanoi Department of Health showed statistics that more than 27,000 food-processing businesses and 50,000 eateries were given clearance certificates for food hygiene.

Local administrators in some districts have a lax attitude to the problem. Hence, nearly 10 percent of the districts in Hanoi have not yet implemented issuance of food safety certificates to businesses.

The Ho Chi Minh City Market Management claims there have been 169 cases of hygiene violation during the last week. Amongst the 169 cases, 71 were of illegal transportation of unchecked poultry and cattle into the city. Relevant authorities also destroyed two kilograms of noodles made with borax powder, a banned cleaning agent in cooking.

Vietnam carries out free eye surgeries in Laos

The Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology (VNIO) will carry out 200 humanitarian eye surgeries for the poor in Laos ’ Bolikhamsay province from April 18-27.

The surgeries will be implemented in the districts of Kham Keut, Vieng Thong and Pakading and will be assisted with US$ 20,000 by the Action for Blind People (AFBP) in Asia .

The activity is part of the Vietnamese Government’s commitment program on helping Laos in blind prevention and realizing eye care goal until 2020.

As planned, between now and 2020, the Vietnam eye care agencies will support Laos in various fields including training personnel, transferring new technology, upgrading optic equipment and implementing humanitarian eye operations.

More than 56,200 out of Laos’ population at 5.8 million are blind whereas there are only 15 ophthalmologists nationwide, mainly in the capital city of Vientiane, who can conduct just 5,000 eyes operations every year.

Can Tho promotes tourism potential in Hanoi

A workshop called “Visit Tay Do”, promoting tourism in Can Tho was held in Hanoi on April 15.

The Mekong Delta City of Can Tho attracts around one million tourists annually with its main tourism focused on waterway ecological, fruit gardens, traditional culture and MICE (Meeting, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions).

Tourists visiting Can Tho have a choice of interesting tours where they can visit Cai Rang and Phong Dien floating markets; Au, Khuong, Son, Tan Loc and Cai Khe islets; fruit gardens; cruise along the river to experience the riverside lifestyle; enjoy local delicacies or the Don ca tai tu (Southern traditional amateur music) and much more.

The city has many green tourist areas such as My Khanh, Bang Lang Stork Sanctuary and Binh Thuy orchid garden. It is also a big religious tourist site with many pagodas and temples.

Can Tho has developed a strong and advantageous traffic system whereby tourists can travel by land, air or waterway. It has 17 entertainment areas, more than 200 hotels and thousands of restaurants.

Apart from the Hanoi-Can Tho air route, new air routes include Da Nang-Can Tho, Can Tho-Con Dao, Can Tho-Lien Khuong and many international routes to be launched in coming times to promote the city’s tourism.

Downpours severely flood HCMC streets

A drenching rain was reported to severely flood a number of streets and cause a massive traffic jam in Ho Chi Minh City Monday afternoon.

Tuoi Tre reported that heavy rains flooded several streets like Dam Thuan Huy, Pham Van Xao, Le Niem, and Van Cao in Tan Phu District’s Phu Tho Hoa ward. Especially, floods severely submerged Le Thuc Hoach street, where most motorcycle wheels were deep in water rising up to 40cm.

Many engines broke down.

According to Dan Tri newswire, the heavy rain began at 2:30 p.m.

On Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Street in Binh Thanh District, waters submerged more than half of a motorcycle wheel, leaving hundreds of people sitting on the sidewalk to wait for the flood to subside.

Waters also inundated streets of No Trang Long, Dinh Tien Hoang in Binh Thanh, Kha Van Can in Thu Duc, and Le Van Si in district 3, and Hoang Van Thu in Tan Binh where locals were seen scooping water out of their homes.

Three die due to southern biogas suffocation

Three people were found dead inside a biogas cellar in Tan Binh commune, Chau Thanh district in the southern province of An Giang Monday afternoon.

According to preliminary investigation, Huynh Minh Tuong found the biogas tank behind his home clogged, and had his two sons Huynh Minh Thai, 38, and Huynh Minh Thang, 25, come down to fix it.

After a long while, Tuong was anxious as he didn’t see them climbing up. He asked his grandchild Huynh Minh Khanh, 17, to come down to find out but nothing was heard upon.

All of them were reported to be dead later.

Autopsy results found suffocation as the cause of death.

City eyes 100 % hike in parking fees

Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Finance wants to increase parking fees for vehicles by 50-100 percent and is soliciting suggestions from district authorities for this before seeking approval.

The existing fee regime remains unchanged since 2005.

The new regime seeks to categorize the fees based on location: they will be higher in central districts like 1, 3 and 5. The difference will be VND1000-2000 for two-wheel vehicles and VND5000-15,000 for four-wheeled ones.

It will cost more for scooters than motorbikes.

The draft further divides the fees into three groups, with schools and hospitals being cheaper than supermarkets and shopping malls.

The draft also caps the rates at five-star hotels and restaurants to VND4,000 to check the current overpricing going on at these places.

The Department of Finance said the current rates have become out of date. A recent survey by its inspectors found the common rate for bikes to be VND2000-4000, going up to VND5,000-10,000 in Districts 1 and 3.

Four-wheeled vehicles are divided into four-seaters and 15-seaters and above. The draft proposes two different rates for vehicles with eight seats or less and larger ones, both 30-40 percent higher than now.

It also has a ranking system for parking lots based on conditions there. Those offering indoor parking, lean-tos, and electronic management systems can have 100-200 percent higher fares.

Government offices are not authorized to collect parking fees but some places do. So the draft also urges the people’s committee to order them to follow regulations and stop collecting the fees.

Ho Chi Minh City cops struggle to curb street racing

The Ho Chi Minh City police have been cracking down on illegal street racing as best as they can but, faced with many hurdles, it is not clear how much headway they are making in curbing this menace.

“Our special force that deals with street racing is certainly outnumbered by racers,” Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Ngoc Binh, head of the Binh Thanh District traffic police, said.

“Thousands could gather for a race.

“We are stretched since our men have to patrol the streets at night and have other tasks in the day.”

Besides, their hands are tied in many ways, many traffic police chiefs lament.

Since officers are not allowed to chase after racers on streets due to considerations for the safety of other road users and the racers themselves, they cannot really stop the reckless, mostly young, racers, they explain.

“We should be allowed to chase them down and wear plain clothes to easily approach them,” Binh said.

The current penalties for street racing are thought to be too mild to deter “night storm,” as the media has dubbed the racing, which has become rampant and poses a grave threat to other road users.

Decision 34 imposes a fine of VND5 million-7 million (US$239- 335) for riding while lying on the bike, hands-free, with feet on handlebar, or sitting on one side, all racers’ favorite stunts.

In some cases, licenses are taken away for 90 days or revoked.

But “their bikes are not taken away if they do these stunts,” Captain Tran Hong Minh of the Tan Binh District traffic police said.

“The financial penalty is not heavy enough to deter many youngsters who have money in their pockets.

“So, these teenagers are not afraid of anything and just get more and more reckless.

“Harsher penalties should be imposed, and their vehicles should also be taken away.”

Racers may face criminal charges.

The city police are making plans to curb racing. Local police at places where racers frequent will report to the traffic police in their neighborhood.

They will also keep an eye on mechanic shops where racers frequently visit to upgrade their bikes and make them faster.

“Serious cases involving racers who keep repeating the offense will be sentenced to public labor,” Captain Minh said, “or sent to reformatories or other education centers.”

In Binh Thanh District, some cases have recently been brought to court and racers face criminal charges for “disturbing public order,” Binh said.

Ho Chi Minh City touts virtues of public transport

Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Transport is set to launch a campaign to encourage people to use buses to save energy and protect the environment.

It will call on the public to travel by bus at least one day a week, Le Trung Tinh, head of its Transport Management and Industry Division, said.

If approved by the city government, the campaign’s first stage will start June 1 with an appeal to Party members, civil servants, workers, and students to travel by bus or engineless vehicles at least one day a week.

From September 1 the campaign will be widened to include all residents, the department said.

If one million passengers use buses daily, the city will save 500,000 liters of petrol a day, traffic congestion will ease, and there will be less environmental pollution, Tinh said.

With A92 petrol now costing VND21,300 per liter, the amount saved will be nearly US$510,000 per day.

The city has 4.5 million motorbikes and 500,000 cars. If a car can save a liter of petrol or diesel a day and a motorbike 250 ml, the daily saving will be VND26 billion ($1.24 million), Tinh said.

He also assured that even if the number of bus users doubles, the demand can be comfortably met.

The campaign also encourages people to travel on foot or by bicycle to improve their health and save money, he added.

Transportation costs currently account for more than 10 percent of household expenses, Tinh said.

To help people save money by choosing appropriate means of transport, the department plans to provide every household with a handbook providing analyses of and comparisons between various means of transport, he said.

For instance, people are recommended to go on foot if the distance is less than 2 km. For 2-5 km, a bicycle or electric bicycle will cost VND150,000 ($7.2) less than a motorbike. For distances of more than 5 km, public buses are the best in terms of cost.

The handbook also compares the cost of using buses with that of taxis and motorbikes. For a distance of 20 km, for instance, the cost of traveling by taxi and motorbike is 11.8 times and 1.8 times higher than by bus.

Currently the bus fare for a distance of less than 31 km is VND4,000. It falls to VND3,000 with season tickets.

For children less than 1.3 meters tall or with disabilities, buses are free.

Vietnam suspends probe into democracy abuser

Vietnamese police have suspended investigation into 37-year-old blogger and freelance reporter Le Nguyen Huong Tra who was arrested for posting online “distorting information” about a vice police minister, Thanh Nien reported.

According to police, the decision was made after the People’s Supreme Procuracy concluded Ha has a good record and well cooperated with police during investigation process.

The police said Tra, known as Co Gai Do Long in her blog, had published some entries on her blog with damaging information about the family of a deputy minister of public security, which affects the reputation of people involved.

She was earlier charged with “abusing democracy and freedom of the rights of speech, damaging the interests of the State and legal rights of organizations and individuals” under the Criminal Code on October 23, 2010.

Tra is a freelance reporter for several Ho Chi Minh City-based newspapers. Her blog, now closed, was listed among the most viewed blogs in Vietnam.

Vietnam confirms food free of radiation

Vietnam has to date found no radiation contamination in food imported from Japan , the Ministry of Health’s Food Safety and Hygiene Department said Monday.

The confirmation was made after testing 41 samples of imported food from Japan, the department said, adding that it will continue to keep an eye on food imported from Japan and provide timely information to consumers.

After a nuclear crisis began in Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami, Vietnam stepped up radiation testing on food and foodstuffs imported from Japan and required these products to be certified for radioactive safety by Japanese authorities.

The Ministry of Health plans to provide training on diagnosis and treatment of radiation-related diseases and devise a radioactivity contamination prevention program for the people.

105 houses damaged as whirlwind rips across north VN

An icy rain whipped up a whirlwind hit Hoang Tan ward in the northern province of Hai Duong at 10:30 p.m. April 17, stripping roofs off over 100 houses and badly damaging rice fields and vegetable.

Thanh Nien reported the whirlwind left around 105 houses damaged, including two badly cracked, and spread desolation through the fruit and vegetable.

However, fortunately no human casualty was reported.

Many destroyed households are promptly repairing the damage.

Meanwhile, local authorities have donated VND500,000 (US$25) each to two most destroyed households and a poor family.

1 dead, 1 hurt as cables poles fall on motorbikes

One dead and another was badly injured after three cable poles in the central province of Phu Yen fell on them at 15:30 p.m. April 18.

The incident happened when they were driving motorbikes on a street in An Nien hamlet, Hoa An Commune.

The victims are Pham Dinh Thong, 28, who was said to be suffering brain injuries and Doan Quoc Bao, 26, experiencing multiple traumas.

They were rushed to hospital nearby for emergency surgeries. Both of them are now in danger.

Bao died later from serious wounds, said doctors.

The cause of the collapse is due to the heavy rain.

Hanoi to notify power cut via phone messages

Hanoi Electricity Corporation is preparing a plan to announce power cuts to every household in the capital next year via mobile text messages, said Nguyen Anh Tuan, deputy general director of the Corporation.

For the time being, the Corporation will issue official letters to important subscribers to notify them in advance about its electricity cut schedules.

For households, notices of power cut will be sent to heads of families.

These improvements are aimed at helping all subscribers be more active in changing their activities to best adapt to power cut schedules.

Currently, text messages notifying of electricity bills are being sent to subscribers in some districts like Tay Ho, Hoan Kiem, Hoang Mai and Hai Ba Trung.

As the next few months is the peak time of the hot weather, the demand for power use will increase significantly and thereby power cuts will be inevitable, Tuan said.

However, important political and social event, hospitals, schools and kindergartens will be given top priority in power supply, he promised.

The power cut schedules will be posted on the Corporation’s website at http://www.evnhanoi.com.vn and published on six newspapers, he added.

Traffic official fined for double hit-and-run

Le Van Qui, deputy head of traffic inspection team No 3 of the Can Tho City Transport Department who committed two hit-and-run incidents in February in drunken states has been fined VND6 million.

The information was provided by Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Minh Hoang, deputy police chief of O Mon district.

Authorities also suspended his driving license for 60 days between February 4 and April 5.

Qui must pass a driving theory test in order to retrieve the license.

However, by April 18, Qui has not contacted authorities to sit the driving exam.

Qui is in charge of traffic order in Ninh Kieu and Binh Thuy districts in Can Tho.

Drink and drive, hit and run and abusive words

Qui was driving a four-seat car to An Giang province when he hit a motorbike traveling in the same direction at 5pm February 4.

Nguyen Van Nam suffered a rib fracture, To Thi Oanh had her arm broken while Gia Han suffered a head injury.

But instead of helping the victims to hospital, Qui continued to drive on.

On the way back from An Giang to Can Tho, Qui caused another hit and run incident later that day, this time hitting a bicycle also traveling in the same direction.

When police managed to stop Qui en route, he defiantly refused to be tested for alcoholic level, refused to sign the document and had several dirty words to traffic police.

He even threatened to bring them to court.

Man charged with raping 6-year-old girl

Prosecutors have indicted 18-year-old Ly Huu Nghia and put him under 4-month custody for raping a 6-year-old girl in the southern province of Soc Trang on April 10 night, local police said Sunday.

The victim is his neighbor, a one grader attending a primary school in Ward 9.

Nghia admitted in prison that he got drunk and snaked through the house owned by Thuy, the victim’s mother.

Seeing her little daughter sleeping on the floor, he carried her on his back towards his home.

He shut her mouth up with his hand and threatened to kill her if she shouted for help.

After raping her, Nghia slept well while Thuy came back home.

Her family found her vagina tainted with blood and her clothes untidy. They then submitted the case to police.

The girl is recovering after a week long treatment, doctors said, adding the girl could be discharged from hospital any minute.

But they still warned she could experience post-traumatic effects.

Dreadful car wreck kills 3, hurts 20

A terrible road accident happened at 2:00 am today when a truck collided with a passenger car in Ha Tinh northern province, killing three and injuring more than 20 people.

According to preliminary investigation, the truck bearing number plate 72L-0433 driven by 34-year-old Nguyen Gia Thu heading to the north crashed into a passenger car with number plate 49X-2199 driven by 31-year-old Nguyen Van Vang traveling on the opposite direction on National Highway 1A located at Ky Long Commune, Ky Anh District.

The accident has left three dead and over 20 people injured including four in very critical condition, who were later taken to Ky Anh General Hospital for emergency care.

The perished victims are Trinh Thi Van, 22, Tran Thanh Xuan, 57, and Tran Van Luong, 32, all of them hailing from Thanh Hoa northern central province’s Tho Xuan district.

The incident occurred when both drivers, who were allegedly driving at high speed, lost their control due to heavy rain, said police.

The truck driver and his assistant are now in critical condition while the passenger car driver, who is being detained for further investigation, just suffered slight wounds.

Nine hospitalized after taking unidentified medications

9 people in Ha Giang northeastern province were rushed to hospital with severe internal injuries after taking unidentified drugs they purchased under the counter at a local market.

Upon hospitalization at Yen Minh District’s general hospital, these 9 patients suffered from severe stomachache, digestive disorder that led to gastrointestinal perforation, said Doctor Pham Anh Van.

The province’s health department has concluded these unspecified drugs were not approved by the Health Ministry.

All the patients, aged 6 to 51, and belonging to the H’Mong ethnic group are recovering.

Many medical drugs without specified sources, names and types have been sold in many local markets in rural and bordering areas of Ha Giang province.

Recently one of its market management teams has seized hundreds of kilograms of unidentified drugs smuggled in the area.

Quy Nhon clears beaches to prevent shark attacks

Authorities in Quy Nhon City in the central province of Binh Dinh have started to remove thousands of fish and shrimp rafts and traps on its beaches to prevent sharks from coming onshore and attacking humans.

Hundreds of fishing boats have also been removed far away from the beaches. Local people said these boats and the fish and shrimps bred on rafts and captured in traps attract sharks which in turn attack humans.

Local authorities said these boats and rafts and traps had been stationed near beaches in violation of the laws and promised to remove them by April 20 and severely any future violation.

Thai Ngoc Bich, chairman of Quy Nhon’s People’s Committee, said the city would also set up well-equipped warning stations as well as rescue teams to better deal with shark attacks.

Since July, 2009, more than 10 people have been attacked by sharks along Quy Nhon beaches and some were seriously injured.

In Vietnam, sharks are often sighted in coastal areas such as Con Dao, Phu Quy, Cu Lao Xanh, and Hon Me islands.

Child badly hurt after being flung by drunk father

A Ca Mau man threw this infant son on the floor in annoyance, fracturing his skull, after his wife called him home to do some chores when he was drinking with his friends.

It happened last month-end when Hong Yen of Ta An Khuong Dong Commune went to the spot where her husband Giang was drinking and summoned him home.

The enraged Giang left the party, grabbed their 10-month-old son Quynh from his wife’s hands and threw him on the ground, breaking his head.

The baby was taken to Ca Mau Women and Children Hospital who referred him to the Ca Mau General Hospital.

There a CT scan showed he had a cracked skull and fluid accumulation under the eye and temples.

The Hospital’s Dr Tran Thanh Tuan said they cannot make any predictions about the child’s recovery, but warned merely that even if he recovers, he is likely to have some severe nervous disorders.

The police are looking for Giang, who has absconded.

Mekong Delta a growing hotspot of bird flu

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) last Thursday warned that the Mekong Delta is still one of the hotspots for the H5N1 avian influenza as the disease occurs there all year round and usually peaks in April and May.

Bird flu in the South breaks out within the region and there is no outside infection found, which is different from virus groups in the North and Central, FAO said in a seminar on waste management for duck farming.

Livestock Production Department said animal heath departments in the country gave free vaccines against the disease. However, most farmers ignored the medicine as they would sell poultry after just four to six months. But because of their reluctance the virus spreads quickly in the delta.

Ducks account for over 70% of infected poultry in the region, of which 45% of ducks are not vaccinated. The nation has reported five provinces with bird flu over the past 21 days, including Quang Ngai, Tien Giang, Daklak, Ha Nam and Bac Kan.

The Mekong Delta has over 31.5 million ducks, or 40% of the total number in the country. Dong Thap, Long An, Kien Giang and Hau Giang have over 2.5 million ducks each.

FedEx, Heartbeat Vietnam give gift of life to poor kids

FedEx Express and VinaCapital Foundation’s Heartbeat Vietnam program last week extended their mobile medical outreach clinics to help poor children suffering from congenital heart disease in Binh Phuoc Province.

Under the ‘FedEx Delivers Heartbeats’ initiative, thousands of poor children, including those in the southern province are being examined and diagnosed by the country’s top cardiologists and surgeons without having to leave their home provinces.

Launched in the central province of Ninh Thuan, the ‘Heartbeats’ clinics will run in numerous provinces this year. The aim is to provide free diagnoses to 100-400 children in a province within two to three days.

Besides early detection of heart conditions, they will also receive treatment and placement on the national cardiac surgery waiting list.

The children undergoing surgery can use the free clinics for their post-operative check-ups, saving them multiple trips to big cities. The ‘Heartbeats’ program also offers training to provincial doctors in diagnosis and treatment of these children.

Robin King Austin, CEO and Executive Director of the VinaCapital Foundation, said the support from FedEx enabled the delivery of improved healthcare services to poor children with heart disease. “The ‘Fedex Delivers Heartbeats’ program uses the achievements of modern medicine and travels to reach the sickest children, especially those who are disadvantaged,” she said.

Every year one out of 100 children born in Vietnam has a congenital heart defect, said Austin. “Most of these children come from extremely poor families who earn less than VND600,000 per month and they cannot afford the proper treatment or surgery for their child,” she said.

Heartbeat Vietnam conducted eight outreach clinics in five provinces and provided care for over 1,500 children in 2008, 14 outreach clinics in 15 provinces and over 4,800 children in 2009. This year, FedEx’s donation will help 20-25 clinics operate in 22 provinces across the country, thus reaching more disadvantaged children.

Nguyen Duy Binh, Chief Representative of FedEx Vietnam, said the company’s greatest wishes for the children were to run, jump, play games, and particularly grow up with a healthy and strong heart. This was why the company backed Heartbeat Vietnam in delivering to the poor children.

“We first did this in 2010 by funding lifesaving heart operations for 16 poor children, and now with ‘FedEx Delivers Heartbeats,’ we can help save and improve the quality of life for thousands more children,” Binh said.

FedEx’s employees will also dedicate their time and efforts to the program by assisting families with registration and conversing with them while their children wait to be examined.

Heartbeat Vietnam, a fund for lifesaving heart surgery for poor children in Vietnam, began in December 2005 with a gift of US$31,500 from VinaCapital. To date, over US$900,000 has been donated to help poor children in dire need of heart surgery with more than 2,000 children given the gift of life.

*The wholesale chain operator Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam in conjunction with An Giang Province’s Department of Education and Training donated gifts to 300 poor elementary students in Tinh Bien and Tri Ton districts.

The gifts, worth VND65 million, include handbags, notebooks and stationery.

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