Nguyen Thi Thuy Dung, a baby girl born on November 1 at the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Hanoi, is named the 90 milionth citizen of Vietnam / PHOTO: PHAN HAU
On November 1 the Vietnamese population hit 90 million with the birth of Nguyen Thi Thuy Dung, a 3.2-kilogram girl, at the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Hanoi.
Dung was randomly chosen from among two dozen babies born that day across the country to be named the 90 millionth citizen.
A slew of events were organized the next day to celebrate the milestone.
A reason for the celebrations, Duong Quoc Trong, chief of the General Office of Population and Family Planning, said, was that the figure showed Vietnam has succeeded in reducing the birth rate.
In 1989 it had been forecast that the population would hit 90 million by 2002, meaning Vietnam has managed to delay it by 11 years.
The achievement deserves to be hailed and celebrated, but there is question mark against whether the country can provide for these and future citizens?
In this country, sadly, there are still a myriad of problems plaguing children every day.
Only two days before Dung's birth, it was reported that Ho Chi Minh City authorities rescued three-year-old Trinh Nguyen Thanh Duc from his uncle who beat him severely and forced him to go around begging for money.
The uncle, Trinh Duc Hoa, himself only 15, is addicted to online games and sniffing glue and so needed money to finance his addictions.
Both boys were sent to the HCMC Center for Social Welfare, online newspaper Dan Tri reported.
For many years the media has reported about gangs who enslave street children, mostly orphans, and force them to sell lottery tickets or beg on the streets.
How many social welfare centers do we need to shelter kids like Duc and reform delinquents like Hoa?
On November 2, when many events were organized to mark the population milestone, an elementary school in Nha Trang was found stealing students' food.
In many remote areas, poor children go to school without proper food or even hungry.
Then there is the concern over vaccines sparked off by the death of five babies early this year after getting shots and the hospitalization of many others.
Pediatrics hospitals are so overloaded that many children are put beneath beds. It was sad to see photos showing child patients crawling from under beds to greet Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien when she visited hospitals this year.
It was heartrending to read reports or see children in some places swimming or going by makeshift boats across deep rivers to reach school every day. Due to the lack of infrastructure, kids have to risk their lives to get schooling.
As the population hit the 90-million mark, authorities and experts have once again been talking about Vietnam's golden demographic age in which there is only one dependent for every two people or more of working age (15-64 years).
Starting in 2007 and expected to last 35 years, this is considered as a big boost for economic development.
But how will the golden demographic period benefit the nation if we cannot provide the children being born with a good life and education so that they can grow up healthy and skilled?
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