Hanoi (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has urged greater efforts to  develop healthcare establishments  for the elderly at grassroots level while issuing policies to uphold their role in society.

Deputy PM Dam made the call during a conference hosted by the Ministry of Health in Hanoi on September 25 to discuss community-based healthcare policy for the elderly on the occasion of International Day of Older Persons (October 1).

He told participants that Vietnam recorded 10.1 million old people in 2016, accounting for 11 percent of the country’s total population, of whom over 2 million were over 80 years old.

The Deputy PM also suggested expanding the model of family clinics, developing geriatric hospitals and increasing nursing staff for the elderly.

The conference featured three plenary sessions on the elderly healthcare policy, management of chronic diseases frequently faced by older persons, and medical staff training.

Scientific reports delivered at the event focused on improving readiness of healthcare services, improving the role of family doctors, encouraging the involvement of the private sector and the public in this field.

According to the Health Ministry’s General Office for Population – Family Planning, up to 65.7 percent of Vietnamese old people live in rural areas and rely on farming. As one of the countries with the fastest-growing aging rate, Vietnam records an average life expectancy of 73 years but the good health span is only 64 years.

The office proposed that the health sector should increase investment in the effort and build a friendly environment for old citizens, among others.-VNA