Vietnam aims to tackle rising teen pregnancy

By Minh Hung, Thanh Nien News

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Students at a high school in Ho Chi Minh City. The city is among the country's localities with highest adolescence abortion rate, prompting experts to call for more investment in young people. Photo: Dao Ngoc Thach Students at a high school in Ho Chi Minh City. The city is among the country's localities with highest adolescence abortion rate, prompting experts to call for more investment in young people. Photo: Dao Ngoc Thach
Relevant authorities have called for more investment in sex education and access to reproductive healthcare in Vietnam amid rising teen pregnancy.
“There have been many cases of abortion among young people, especially repeated abortions,” Dr Nguyen Huu Hung, deputy director of Ho Chi Minh City Health Department, said.
Hung was speaking at a conference on Tuesday in the city to mark the World Population Day (July 11) which focused on investing in youth.
According to Duong Quoc Trong, director of the General Department of Population and Family Planning, Vietnam should review investments in healthcare, education and employment for young people.
“Young people do not have sufficient access to healthcare services, especially maternity health services. Underage marriages and incestuous marriages remain common.”
Meanwhile, there are still problems in education and employment for the youth, he said.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Vietnam is one of the five countries with the highest abortion rates worldwide and tops the South East Asia region.
About 46 of every 1,000 women give birth between the ages of 15-19, according to the organization.
In Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City has one of the highest adolescent abortion rates -- a rate that has significantly increased during the past several years.
In 2013, nearly four percent of abortion cases were adolescent, double the proportion in 2010, according to the city Population and Family Planning Agency.
Tran Van Tri, the agency’s deputy director, said the city will enforce activities in education, communication and consultation for young people to tackle teen pregnancy and abortion.
“A major proportion of adolescent and young people don't have basic knowledge about reproductive health,” he said.

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