Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has urged the Ministry of Health to establish additional geriatric wards in hospitals and coordinate with the Vietnam Social Insurance to intensify healthcare access for the elderly – who currently number 9.4 million, accounting for 10.45 percent of the total population.

Under Vietnam’s law, the elderly are persons of 60 years old and above.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism ought to encourage the operation of exchange clubs and reduce entrance fees to visit historical and cultural relic sites for the elderly to assist with their spiritual and cultural life, requested Dam, who is also Head of the National Committee for Elderly People.

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) is responsible for expanding the network of social support facilities and raising public awareness of such facilities’ benefits to the elderly themselves and their families.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance is to work with relevant ministries, sectors and localities to review policies relating to the elderly for timely adjustments and supplements.

According to the MoLISA, nearly 2.8 million people are currently receiving retirement pensions and social insurance benefits and over 1.5 million benefit from monthly social allowance, nearly 1.4 million of whom are 80 years old and above.

Geriatric wards have been established in provincial-level hospitals in 49 out of the 63 provinces and cities nationwide. Nearly 5,600 hospital beds have been prioritised for the elderly and over 2.3 million elderly are currently receiving periodic medical check-ups.

Vietnam issued the Law on the Elderly in 2009. The country has also established the National Committee for the Elderly and launched a national action programme to support senior citizens.-VNA