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Vietnam not found any baby bottles with BPA

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2010 at 9:27 am

The Ministry of Health’s Food Hygiene and Safety Department of Vietnam on December 17 announced that it has not found baby bottles containing bisphenol-A (BPA), which is a hormone-altering agent.

A woman uses a baby bottle to feed her newborn son. (Photo:AFP)

Earlier, the department had collected samples from baby bottles and food packing plastics for testing.

According to Nguyen Thanh Phong, deputy director of the Food Hygiene and Safety Department, BPA is an industrial chemical used in making plastics in most reusable food drink containers and baby bottles.

Vietnam authorities have detected a permissible bisphenol-A (BPA) level in the plastic bottles sold across the country.

Vietnam is applying the decision 46/2007/QĐ – BYT, which allows BPA to be at 2.5mg per kilogram of material.

A recent market survey in Vietnam showed that concerned parents in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are switching to bottles imported from Korea, England and Germany. These countries advertise that their bottles are ‘BPA free’. In addition, parents are also turning to glass bottles. Although heavier and more expensive, as compared to the plastic ones, glass bottles are probably much safer.

Nguyen Cong Khan, from the Ministry of Health, said that mothers should breastfeed their child as this can ensure better protection and enhance the immune system of the child.

In November, the European Community (EU) banned baby bottles containing the chemical BPA. This was due to fears that BPA might be harmful to the health of a child. The population of the EU is half a billion people.

The ban will see the manufacture of polycarbonate infant feeding bottles that have BPA, outlawed from March 1st 2011. In addition, from June 1st, 2011, the importation and sale of plastics bottles that contain BPA will be prohibited into the European Community.

Source: SGGP

Local businesses borrow at any costs for booming time at yearend

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:05 am

Financial experts said many businesses would be willing to borrow money at the current rates as they need large sources of capital at the end of the year, which is expected to be a booming time of the local retail market.

A cash teller (left, in blue) talks with a client at the Asia Commercial Bank (Photo: Minh Tri)

At some commercial banks, deposit rates reached 15-16 percent per annum last week, while lending rates for businesses and individuals are up to 17-19 percent and more than 19 percent.

Some small and medium enterprises disclosed lenders’ current lend rates remained much lower than unofficial sources’ ones, which can be up to 3-4 percent per month or 48 percent per annum.

High interest rates showed commercial banks’ credit growth last month was a little bit slower than previous months, according to Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the State Bank of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City branch.

He expected the banks’ more steady liquidity combining with local firms’ large demand for capital this month will put the growth rate back on track.

However, the central bank’s HCMC branch noticed in a report that interbank rates still reply mainly on the state-owned lenders. Commercial banks and financial firms are often clients of the state-run lenders. The interbank rates therefore will increase rapidly if  the state-owned banks, in some cases, refuse to give loans to commercial lenders, the report said.

The state-owned lenders mostly have to say no to commercial banks or financial firms, whose plans on using capital are risky and unreasonable.

Economists said many lenders’ growth rates nearly reach their annual target, so they will be unwilling to loan more.

The credit growth rate of the Military Bank was 5 percent higher than October’s rate and rose 50 percent so far this year. The lender had to slow down last month’s growth rate as they were afraid it would surge over this year’s target, an officer at the bank said, without providing how much the targeted rate is.

The state bank’s HCMC branch expected credit growth rates this year would rise 25 percent year-on-year to VND699.81 billion (US$35 million), and the deposit would increase 27 percent year-on-year to VND766.25 billion ($38.3 billion).

However, some banks will likely to miss their target. Asia Commercial Bank, known as ACB, said the number of personal loans was small because of the high interest rates. Other commercial lenders said they still accepted personal loan applies, but would offer the loans next year.

Source: SGGP

Around 40 percent of Vietnamese poor not receive any medical treatment

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:00 am

Recent scientific researches have pointed out that around 40 percent needy medical patients have not received any treatment due to several reasons, said an official in the health sector at a Vietnam International Health Economics (HEA) Conference.


Patients wait for their turn to pay medical fee at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Around 40 percent of needy medical patietns have not received any treament due to financial reason, said Dr. Ly Ngoc Kinh (Photo: Anh Quan)

According to Ly Ngoc Kinh, former director of the Department of Health Examination and Treatment Management, the main reason is that many face financial difficulties. He said, “Approximately 42 percent of poor people received treatment in district clinics, while only 16.9 percent of wealthy patients did”.

Duong Huy Lieu, HEA’s chairperson, said, “Around 52.5 percent of health-care costs are paid out-of-pocket by households in 2008, while 44 percent of the population in Vietnam have joined up with medical insurance companies.

Mr. Lieu said, “Health insurance only paid 17.6 percent of the medical costs of any patient and that the patients he interviewed, 33 percent said their illness has dramatically reduced their incomes.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Phuong, a World Health Organization expert in Vietnam, said “Out-of-pocket health payments exacerbate poverty and approximately 3.7 percent households fall into poverty, due to medical costs in 2008”.

She also went on to say, “Poverty line families and the old are the most vulnerable with extra medical costs”.

The Vietnam International Health Economics (HEA) Conference, the first of its kind, which was jointly organized by the Vietnam Health Economics Association (VHEA) and the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, was held in Hanoi on December 7-8.

Also, in attendance to this meeting were eminent experts from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, the United Nations Children’s Fund, WHO and a number of non-governmental organizations.

Source: SGGP