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Voice of Vietnam News: Joining hands to combat social evils

Joining hands to combat social evils
from Voice of Vietnam News, August 4, 2011

(VOV) – The community’s active contributions to upgrading facilities, training human resources and raising public awareness are essential in the fight against social evils.

Effective models

Combating drug addition, prostitution and HIV/AIDS is considered a major long-term task of the whole society. Thanks to coordinated efforts from ministries, agencies and localities nationwide, these social evils are being gradually stamped out.

The north-central province of Thanh Hoa, with many mountainous districts such as Muong Lat, Quan Son and Quan Hoa, is struggling against drug trafficking. One of the main causes of HIV infection and AIDS is drug abuse.

Along with information dissemination campaigns, many healthcare centres for HIV patients have been built in Thanh Hoa province to provide HIV tests and medical checkup services. As a result, the number of newly-infected HIV cases has reduced remarkably.

Nguyen Ngoc Thanh, Deputy Director of the Thanh Hoa provincial Health Department, says that more and more people in remote areas of Thanh Hoa have learnt about the danger of HIV/AIDS and measures to prevent the spread of the fatal disease.

In the northern port city of Hai Phong, the number of HIV-infected patients has dropped remarkably in recent years. More than 100 new cases were detected annually between 2003 and 2005. Now there are only 20 on average a year.

Nguyen Quang Toan, Director of the Gia Minh centre for social and labour affairs in Hai Phong, highly values the effective operation of social centres in the province that have helped to reduce the number of drug addicts and HIV/AIDS patients. Drug users and people living with HIV are provided with healthcare services, vocational training courses and jobs.

Toan emphasizes that his centre has trained many HIV/AIDS patients in various fields, including agriculture and mechanics. Some of them have become medical workers and volunteers who help other patients improve their lives.

More investment needed

Although the number of people living with HIV/AIDS has declined, the ratio of infection with the lethal virus remains high, especially among drug addicts, prostitutes and homosexuals.

In addition, preventive healthcare centres are lacking in capital and staff resources to carry out their HIV prevention and control programmes in the long run.

The Health Ministry’s leaders say that measures against HIV/AIDS should be intensified in key areas, with a focus on promoting information dissemination, public awareness and behavior change with in the community.

At a recent conference, former Health Minister Nguyen Quoc Trieu proposed that the Government direct relevant ministries and agencies to build plans to ensure the implementation of projects on combating HIV/AIDS, drug addition and prostitution under the 2011-2015 National HIV/AIDS Prevention Programme.

Dr. Trieu emphasized that the Government should invest more in facilities and equipment for HIV/AIDS prevention and control centres in provinces.

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