Illustrative image. (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The freshest experience in measuring and tackling poverty was shared at the “South-South Exchange Workshop: Addressing Multi-Dimensional Poverty and Improving Service Delivery” in Ho Chi Minh City on December 15.

Attendees learnt practices from Ho Chi Minh City alongside China, Mongolia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan in using the Multi-Dimensional Poverty methodology and approach to address poverty and other related issues.

According to the Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for the 2016-2020 term issued by the Prime Minister, poverty is measured in terms of not only income but also people’s lack of access to basic public services such as healthcare, education, housing, clean water–sanitation and information.

In his remarks at the event, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Trong Dam said the MPI will create an insightful measurement approach to better identify poverty levels. It will help formulate effective policies for disadvantaged people with different needs, he stated.

After 20 years of beating poverty, Vietnam has seen a remarkable fall in the rate of poor households, from 58 percent in 1992 to 4.5 percent by the end of this year.

However, the traditional income-based poverty measures have hindered authority from properly evaluating different levels of poverty and achieving the country’s goals towards sustainable and comprehensive development, he added.

Speaking of Ho Chi Minh City’s achievements in poverty reduction over the past 23 years, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Thu said the city now has only 0.76 percent of population, or more than 14,850 households, with annual income per person of less than 16 million VND (710 USD) and 2.23 percent of population, or approximately 44,220 families, with annual income per capita of less than 21 million VND (931.8 USD).

The city has been piloting the MPI to classify poor and near-poor households in Districts 6, 11, Tan Phu and Binh Chanh so as to offer them proper support.

For her part, Pratibha Mehta, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam, noted that sharing of fresh experience in measuring and tackling poverty, and delivering public services to vulnerable population would help Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City, design effective institutional and coordination mechanisms to put MPI in place.

The event was co-organised by the city’s People’s Committee and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The MPI in Vietnam measures lack of access to basic public services through ten indicators – access to healthcare services, social insurance, education attainment of adults, schooling status of children, housing quality, average floor area per person, water supply, condition of toilets/latrines, use of telecommunication services and devices owned for information access.

Accordingly, households are classified as “poor” if they have a monthly income per person of 1 million VND or less in rural areas and 1.3 million VND or less in urban areas. They must also score as deprived in three or more public service access indicators.

“Near poor” are those who have a monthly income per person of 0.7 – 1 million VND in rural areas or 0.9 – 1.3 million VND in urban areas and score as deprived in three or less indicators.

Middle-income families are those who have a monthly per capita income of 1 million – 1.5 million VND in rural areas or 1.3 million – 1.95 million VND in urban areas.-VNA