Conference seeks strategy to care for elderly

An ageing population and care for the elderly were the highlights of a conference on November 19 in Hanoi.
An ageing population and care for the elderly were the highlights of a conference on November 19 in Hanoi.

The event was co-organised by the Ministry of Health, the Hanoi University of Public Health and Umea University of Sweden.

Speaking at the conference, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen said caring for the elderly is among the top concerns of the Party, State and the whole of society, creating conditions to ensure old people enjoy healthy and happy lives.

She noted Vietnam’s population has reached 90 million with rapid ageing in recent years. The country is one of ten countries expected to experience the fastest ageing rate from now to 2050.

The official stressed that scientific and practical research should be undertaken to design effective healthcare models for the elderly.

Today, the average life expectancy in the country is 73. Half a century ago it was just 40. In that time the global average has increased by 21 years.

From 1979 to 2009, Vietnam’s elderly population grew by one million people every decade. Now it rises by 1.2 million every two years, bringing the total number of elderly to 8.65 million.

Over the past year, access to healthcare services among the elderly has been improved. However, access is still inadequate for vulnerable groups such as women, the poor and illiterate people, especially those in rural areas.

The healthcare system and necessary resources needed to care for old people are still limited.

During the two-day event, researchers and experts gave a number of new initiatives to shape the healthcare strategy and model for the elderly.

They also suggested measures to improve the healthcare system and policies to meet the need of public healthcare services in Vietnam , strategies on mental health care for old people, as well as the role of healthcare services and technical support for geriatrics.

Both Swedish Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam Maria Selin and Chief Representative of the Sweden International Development Cooperation Agency said Sweden is willing to share its experience with Vietnam in providing healthcare services for the elderly, while supporting and cooperating with the country in the work.-VNA

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