The National Action Month on Population was launched on December 4 in Hanoi, with the theme “An Ageing population – Challenges in looking after the elderly.”

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien said that Vietnam ’s population is getting old, while policies and programmes on healthcare for the elderly remain unchanged and unable to meet the rising demand.

He stressed the need to raise people’s awareness of population structure and quality, reduce early marriages and expand the coverage of health insurance.

Efforts must be focused on dealing with an ageing population, improving health care for old people and increasing their income, he added.

According to Vietnam’s latest population census, there were more than 8.6 million aged 60 years old and above in 2011, accounting for nearly 10 percent of the population, while the rate of over 65-year-olds was 7 percent.

Therefore, according to the United Nations, Vietnam entered the “ageing population” phase in 2011, 6 years earlier than predicted.

Vietnam’s population reached 90 million on November 1, making the country the 14th most populous country in the world and the 3rd largest in Southeast Asia.-VNA