Greater effort needed to improve healthcare for the elderly: Experts hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Nearly 12 percent of Vietnam’s population of 98.7 million are elderly, with 60 percent living in poor health conditions, according to Nguyen Hong Quan, Chairman of the Vietnam Association for Community Health Education (VACHE).

An elderly person in Vietnam has from three to six diseases and more effort is needed to care for them, Quan told a forum in Hanoi on December 16 about care of the elderly’s health in the community.

The proportion of the elderly in Vietnam’s population is forecast to reach 17.9 percent in 2025 and 23.5 percent by the middle of the century, he added.

On October 13, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued Decision No 1579/QD-TTg approving a programme to provide healthcare services to the elderly to 2030, laying the foundation for stronger activities to care for their health.

Vice Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs Bui Sy Loi told the forum that average life expectancy in Vietnam is relatively high at 74.4 but living conditions can be quite difficult, depending on their offspring.

They bear the burden of illness and chronic disease as well as the risk of becoming disabled, requiring high treatment costs. Meanwhile, the quality of healthcare in general and elder health in particular are yet to meet the needs of a rapidly-aging population, he said.

He underlined that the building of a friendly environment for the elderly as well as the implementation of long-term healthcare programmes in the community have yet to be given adequate attention, and the ratio of elderly covered by health insurance remains modest.

Loi said that in order to reach targets in elderly healthcare programmes to 2030, it is necessary to enhance the Party and Government’s leadership and direction in the field, along with more communications to call for the engagement of families and the community as a whole in caring for the elderly.

Meanwhile, relevant agencies need to develop the initial healthcare system and improve the quality of efforts preventing the spread of non-communicable diseases and providing healthcare services for the elderly, gradually building a long-term care programme for them, he said.

Vice President of the Vietnam Association of the Elderly, Nguyen Hoa Binh, proposed the building of a network of nursing facilities for the elderly based on expanding nursing for in-need people, along with the piloting of a public-private partnership model on providing nursing services to the elderly./.