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“Health is gold”: institutional structures and the realities of health access in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Vietnam has dealt historically with health as a valuable asset, a resource that was distributed in an

equal manner to all citizens through the development of a wide and inclusive grassroots health

network during the 1970s. Since then, the health system has developed -in parallel to the country's

economy and shifts in policy- from a free-for-all service of a rather low quality, to a system that is

now better regulated and has overall better quality, but is conditioned to user fees.

Reconsidering the Vietnamese development vision of “industrialisation and modernisation by 2020”

The role of ideas in the policy‐making process has been taken up by institutional analysts who found the structured approaches of institutionalism wanting in predicting political changes. But this ideational turn has been plagued by definitional ambiguity with repercussions for the research methods: specifying and elaborating the core concept of "idea" is often skipped over, in favour of synonymical terms, without exploring the relationship between the concepts.

Mekong Delta - Road Transportation

The transportation of goods by road is also gaining of importance. Like the Mekong Delta waterways, the roads also registered a net increase of transported freight over the past years. Thus the volume of goods transported by road in the Mekong Delta Provinces grew between 2003 and 2006 by 25 %, from 15.699.200 to 19.694.400 tons.

Mekong Delta - Transported Goods on Waterways

The Mekong River constitutes an important trade route for both, the national markets and the import and export of goods. Due to continually rising production and trade volumes in the local agriculture, aquaculture and industries, transport logistics are increasingly needed.

New Investment Program for Pumping Stations in the Mekong Delta

By issuing decree 1402/BNN-TL the government of Vietnam started a new investment program for upgrading the pumping station infrastructure of the Mekong Delta. This program is part of the government’s new policy on integrated rural development (Tam Nong).

New publication of SISS and ZEF: Water as a Strategic Resource: The Mekong Delta in Vietnam

Nước là nguồn chiến lược: Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long (in English: Water as a Strategic Resource: The Mekong Delta in Vietnam) is the titel of a new book published im May 2013 by the Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences (VASS). The book is a co-production of the Southern Institute of Social Sciences (SISS) in Ho Chi Minh City and the Center for Development Research (ZEF) in Germany (editors: Prof. Bui The Cuong und Prof. Solvay Gerke), who are both partners in the WISDOM project.

The formation of water user groups in a nexus of central directives and local administration in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Vietnam’s agrarian system has profoundly changed since the government initiated its renovation policy in 1986. Various policy directives and institutional reforms have been aimed at increasing the production of cash crops for the export markets and ensuring the nation’s food security. The government has undertaken considerable investments in irrigation and water control to boost local rice production, especially in the Mekong Delta.

Industrial Parks and Investment Capital in the Mekong Delta

Industrial Parks (IPs) represent demarcated areas of land, used for industrial development. Such areas are generally located at the periphery of big cities, with good access to transport and logistic facilities (highways, airports and rivers / harbors).

Can Tho City - Hydraulic Management, 2006 - 2008

During the past decades, hydraulic engineering and management have been crucial for the Mekong Delta’s agricultural production growth. A number of canals, dykes and sluices have been constructed and pumping stations have been set up.

Mekong Delta – Aquaculture Output, 2004 & 2007

By the end of the 1990s, the government’s policy of agricultural development of the Mekong Delta shifted from mono-cultural rice production to more diversified policies of agrarian development, including a strong focus on aquaculture. Since then, aquaculture has experienced a considerable boom that came along with strong growth rates in many provinces of the delta.

Can Tho City – Aquaculture Output, 2004 & 2007

Aquaculture, in particular fish farming (mainly catfish) has developed rapidly and became a key economic sector in Can Tho City during recent years. The aquaculture boom began at the end of the 1990s, when farmers in upstream areas of Can Tho started to grow fish, influenced by their peers from neighboring An Giang where the upswing of freshwater aquaculture started a bit earlier.


Mekong Delta – Shrimp Farming Output, 2004 & 2007

During recent years shrimp farming and processing has become an important economic sector in the Mekong Delta, in particular in coastal areas of the delta. In 2006, the Mekong Delta’s shrimp production accounted for 81 percent of the total national output (Mekong Delta: 315 thousand tons).

Mekong Delta - Fish Farming Output, 2004 & 2007

Fish farming in the Mekong Delta has developed rapidly since the Vietnamese government’ s agricultural policy shifted away from mono-cultural rice production to more diversified models of farming systems (at the end of the 1990s).

Can Tho City – Area under Fish Farming, 2004 & 2007

Since 2000, catfish farming and processing has become a key economic sector in Can Tho City with high growth rates in terms of areas under fish farming. Placed in the freshwater zone of the Mekong Delta with access to the Hau River (Bassac) and a very dense canal network natural conditions for catfish farming are fairly suitable.

Can Tho City - Number of Farms, 2007

The revival of large-scale agricultural production units, as already existed once before in the colonial period, seems to be a new trend in the Mekong Delta. In 2007, the number of farms in Can Tho was 309, of which 156 were operating in the fish farming sector.

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