[health-vn] Illegal books purport to tell parents how to choose baby’s gender
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Fri May 8 02:59:32 EST 2009
Illegal books purport to tell parents how to choose baby’s gender
Women in the Khanh Hoa Province receive reproductive health information.
Regulations prohibiting prenatal gender selection are being implemented. —
VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
HA NOI — It is quite easy to find guide books for parents to follow prenatal
gender selection methods at bookstores throughout the capital city, according to
Nguyen Thi Huong, a mother of two girls living in Ha Noi.
Huong, who is currently pregnant with her third child, said her second child
wasn’t a boy because she did not use books that guide prenatal gender selection.
"This time my husband and I followed a book, given to me by my mother-in-law,
which indicated that we needed to eat a lot of salty food and avoid drinking
milk before becoming pregnant," said Huong.
A latest statistics from the Ministry of Health (MoH) showed that nearly 270,000
babies were born in the first quarter of this year. More than 27,400 of them
were third children, a 1 per cent increase compared with 2008.
MoH reported that the number of third-child births could be up to nearly 60,400
by the end of June.
Southern Kien Giang and Hau Giang provinces, northern Lai Chau and Dien Bien
provinces, and central Quang Ngai Province take the lead in areas with families
choosing to have third child.
Doctor Dao Thu Hien from the National Obstetrics Hospital said the gender of a
child depended more on the parents rather than what they eat or drink. "There is
no research proving the rate of successfully choosing gender by following books."
A national ordinance prohibits gender selection behaviours, including
dissemination and popularising methods through talking, writing, translating and
publishing relevant books, documents, pictures and recordings.
In Ha Noi, prenatal gender selection books are sold at many bookstores on many
streets including Trang Tien Street, the capital city’s book centre, and even on
Chief of HCM City’s Department of Population and Family Planning To Thi Kim Hoa
said her department had recently evaluated the content of ten books sent by the
municipal Department of Information and Communications. All books violated the
Ordinance on Population because they provided guidance on how a couple could
give birth to a boy.
"We have asked inspectors from the General Office of Population and Family
Planning to find solutions for such books," said Hoa.
Head of HCM City Book Distribution Company (FAHASA)’s Business Office Pham Thi
Hoa said almost 40 FAHASA bookstores were selling prenatal gender selection
books. The company receives thousands of book titles everyday, making it
difficult to check the content of all of them.
Therefore, when the company signs contracts with publishing houses and book
suppliers, the company always ask them to take legal responsibility for the
content and copyright of the books, said Hoa.
"If book content is prohibited by the Ordinance on Population, FAHASA would
return the books to the publishing houses and suppliers," said Hoa.
Chief of the Ministry of Information and Communications’ Publishing Department
Nguyen Kiem said his department issued documents to prohibit the publishing of
books on prenatal gender selection in 2005.
Kiem said the newly-found books could have been licensed before the Ordinance on
Population came into effect in 2004. The publishing houses continued to reprint
books with the old licence. "This also violates regulations because the
publishing licence is valid for one year."
Deputy head of HCM City Information and Communications Department’s Press and
Publishing Office Nguyen Thi Minh Phuong said her office would collect books
that guide prenatal gender selection and issue fines in accordance with regulations.
To prevent gender inequality, MoH has asked its municipal and provincial
branches to co-ordinate with the General Office of Statistics to issue an annual
report on the number of girls and boys born in their localities.
Cities and provinces are required to implement regulations on prohibiting
prenatal gender selection behaviours, especially the use of ultrasound to
determine the gender of the foetus in order to opt for an abortion. All illegal
services related to guided births will be examined and fined. — VNS
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