SOCIETY IN BRIEF 18/4

Japan to help Viet Nam with vaccine production

A Japanese funded project will transfer technology to help Viet Nam produce its own combined measles and rubella vaccine.

The work will be part of a US$7.51 million project that was signed yesterday between the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) and Viet Nam's Centre for Research and Production of Vaccines.

JICA, vaccine production, study overseas, US-funded programme 

A Japanese funded project will transfer technology to help Viet Nam produce its own combined measles and rubella vaccine. 

The 5-year project is expected to begin next month. Japanese experts will come to Viet Nam to help transfer technology while Vietnamese researchers will receive training in Japan under the project.

A measles vaccine production facility, whose construction was funded by Japanese Grant Aid for the 2003-06 term, will be provided with new equipment to produce the new vaccine.

It is expected that by the end of 2017, Viet Nam will be capable of producing a combined measles-rubella vaccine, with possible exports of the vaccine to follow.

"With this WHO – GMP credited measles vaccine production facility, and with advanced Japanese technology, we believe that Viet Nam will be able to produce high quality measles and rubella vaccines to respond to domestic needs and also export the vaccine to neighbouring countries," said Chief Representative of JICA Viet Nam Office Tsuno Motonori.

"Once this purpose is achieved, we can help to protect children's health and eliminate the risk of children born with disabilities caused by mothers being affected by rubella in the first trimester of pregnancy."

Health sector statistics show that more than 4,000 pregnant women had rubella while more than 200 babies were born with congenital defects due to rubella in 2011.

More State employees to study overseas

The Prime Minister has approved a project to send 1,800 State employees abroad for further training from 2013 to 2020, using State funding.

Of the total, 1,650 eligible candidates will attend master’s degree programmes, with those from the tertiary education sector making up 60 percent, military and police 10 percent, and research institutes and other State agencies the remainder.

University scholarships will be granted to 150 International Olympiad winners and special gifted students.

The training will be carried out in two forms: full-time overseas, and part-time overseas and locally combined.

Priority will be given to such training areas as basic science, technology, economics, agriculture, forestry, the environment, public administration, and social sciences and humanities.

Primary destinations will be in the UK, Canada, Germany, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, the Republic of Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan (China), India and Singapore.

The project is estimated to cost VND2.07 trillion sourced from the State budget.

US-funded programme benefits thousands of disabled

US Ambassador David Shear on April 17 introduced a new US-funded programme benefiting 10,000 Vietnamese people with disabilities.

Under the US$9-million programme, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will offer vocational training and financial support for disabled children.

The programme will provide the disabled with surgeries, physical therapy, assistive devices, and employment opportunities.

It will also build a case management system that will empower people with disabilities to access improved specialised services.

USAID and its implementing partners, Disability Advocates, Inc. (DAI), and Vietnam Assistance for the Handicapped (VNAH), will work with the People's Committee, Disability Steering Committee, and constituent government departments in Binh Dinh, Danang, Dong Nai and other provinces.

Conference warns of animal sales online

As many as 108 Vietnamese native animals have been illegally traded through the internet, a conference on wildlife trafficking was told in Hanoi on April 17.

The event, jointly held by the governing agency of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), aims to prevent and combat the illegal trade in native animals from Vietnam.

WCS Vietnam Director Scott Roberton voiced his concerns over wildlife trafficking in Vietnam, especially via the internet. Between July and August 2012, many endangered species such as monkeys, turtles and snakes were found to be advertised for sale online.

Among those found available online were several threatened species from Vietnam and overseas, including tiger, elephant and tortoise. Many were traded in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Scott said.

Do Quang Tung, Director of CITES Vietnam, said the conference created a good avenue for wildlife conservation organisations and relevant agencies to crack down on the illegal trade in native flora and fauna.

Participants focused their discussions on law enforcement to prevent wildlife trading and proposed measures on the management of websites and conservation of wildlife species.

Binh Dinh relocates residents from natural disaster-prone areas

The central coastal province of Binh Dinh plans to invest nearly VND640 billion (US$30.4 million) in resettling more than 9,500 households in natural disaster-prone areas in the region from 2013-2020.

Of the investment capital, over VND474 billion ($22.5 million) will be sourced from the State budget while the remaining will be mobilised from the provincial budget.

The province has so far carried out 14 projects to relocate more than 1,625 households in flood- and landslide-prone areas with 6,500 people moved to safer resettlement areas.

Anti-State agitator gets three years in jail

The HCM City People's Court yesterday, April 18, gave Pham Nguyen Thanh Binh three years in prison and a further three years on probation.

The defendant, a resident of the city, was sentenced on charges of "conducting propaganda against the State of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam".

The sentence was pursuant to Article 88 of the 1999 Viet Nam Penal Code.

According to the indictment, Binh, 30, became acquainted with Nguyen Xuan Chau who heads a reactionary organisation in Australia in early 2012 via the internet.

He agreed to write eight articles for Chau with contents distorting the Party's leadership and the Government's management while slandering Party and State leaders.

Chau then posted the articles on the internet with the aim of inciting the public to rise up against the State.

They also exchanged deviatory and false information about Viet Nam's socio-economic situation.
During the investigation, Binh showed a sincere and co-operative attitude and pledged to clemency.

Natural disasters cost 1.48 pct of national GDP

Natural disasters economically cost 1.48 percent of Vietnam’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually from 2008 to 2012.

Nguyen Xuan Dieu, Permanent Member of the Central Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control, reported that during the reviewed period, natural disasters triggered an economic damage of nearly VND74 trillion (roughly US$3.5 billion).

The number of casualties has, however, dropped sharply compared with that of the previous five years, Dieu said, citing that the toll of dead and missing was 1,868, a decrease of 162, while the injured numbered 2,972, a drop of 607.

Among the hard hit localities, Mekong Delta provinces saw a significant drop in deaths, thanks to the employment of a series of preventive measures, including the relocation of local residents in submerged areas in safer shelters.

The heavy property loss was partly attributed to the planners’ failure to incorporate natural disaster prevention in socio-economic development plans.

To mitigate disaster consequences, provinces and cities nationwide should prioritise prevention programmes, especially one to move people living in disaster-prone areas to safer locations.

With a coastline that stretches along the eastern side of the country, Vietnam is prone to various types of natural disasters, especially floods and storms.

VNN/VOV/VNS/VNA

JICA, vaccine production, study overseas, US-funded programme
 
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