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Vietnam's Abortion Rates Remain Highest in Asia Due to Lack of Awareness

The frequency of unplanned pregnancies and abortions among young Vietnamese remains high despite government efforts to raise awareness on effective contraception.

The Ministry of Health recently conducted a seminar in Hanoi on the benefits of contraception, reports Tuoi Tre. During the event, officials discussed issues surrounding reproductive health and how to reduce instances of unexpected pregnancy and abortions among locals, especially teenagers.

It was revealed during the conference that in the Southeast Asian country, failed contraception contributes to nearly 40% of all unplanned pregnancies. Moreover, there is still an alarming lack of knowledge on birth control.

Government reports also show that annually, Vietnam’s public hospitals perform between 250,000 to 300,000 abortions. These are only cases that were recorded officially. The actual number is estimated to be much higher as many women opt for private facilities due to fear that their family might find out.

A report published last year by the national General Statistics Office shows that 70% of these “secret abortions” involve girls aged 13 to 19.

Mai Xuan Phuong, a family planning official from the ministry, shared with the newspaper that young people in Vietnam are also having sex for the first time at an earlier age while uninformed about birth control.

Phuong also noted on the danger of abusing the morning-after pills among young girls.

“Many tend to ignore the recommended dosage – only once or, at most, twice a month – and take [the pills] repeatedly in one month,” he elucidated.

This constant misuse leads to hormone disorders, ineffectiveness in preventing pregnancies or worst, infertility in the future, according to Phuong.

Representatives from Saigon’s maternity hospitals also shared statistics on abortions in the southern metropolis. Tu Du Hospital, for example, performs some 150 abortive operations per day. Dr. Hoang Thi Diem Tuyet from Hung Vuong Hospital in District 5 said at the meeting that her facility handled 15,000 cases last year and more than 7,000 cases during the first six months of 2017.

According to Tuyet’s observation, the majority of patients requesting abortions are aged 18 to 25. Some have even been through the procedure two or three times.

Data from previous studies by the World Health Organization show that Vietnam records the most number of abortion in Asia.

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