Vietnam needs to reverse the trend of becoming an “aged” population, a process which was first recognised in 2011.

The country’s population is forecast to be “aged” by 2028-2031, which is sooner than in many developed countries, Deputy Head of the General Department for Population and Family Planning Nguyen Van Tan said at a conference in Hanoi on September 17 as part of the 12th ASEAN Health Ministers’ Meeting from September 15-19.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien informed participants that residents aged 65 and over made up 7 percent of Vietnam’s total population and they predominantly lived in rural areas where medical equipment and services was inadequate.

In Vietnam, more than 70 percent of the elderly rely on financial support from their families in addition to their own income-generating activities and savings.

Furthermore, 95 percent of Vietnam’s elderly live with chronic and non-communicable diseases.

Workshop participants discussed a range of measures to address these trends and provide community-based care for senior citizens.

On the same day, a workshop was held in the capital on sustainable financing for the fight against HIV/AIDS in ASEAN.

In 2013, the Prime Minister approved a project aiming to secure sufficient funding for the fight against HIV/AIDS until 2020, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long told participants.

Vietnam is also working to guarantee an ample supply of anti-retroviral (ARV) medication and methadone for patients.

Compared to 30 years ago, the number of new cases of HIV/AIDS infections and AIDS fatalities has declined significantly, with the number of AIDS patients on ARV treatment on the rise, Long said.-VNA