Vietnam is the 13 th most populous nation in the world but its human development index and population quality only ranked 108 th among 177 countries, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said.

The UNFPA also warned that low population quality is blocking Vietnam ’s development and the nation is facing the risk of lagging behind.

The nation’s human development index has improved but remained lower than many regional countries and far behind industrialised nations, said the fund.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation predicted that Vietnam ’s population would stabilise at 115-120 million people with average life expectancy being 71.3 in the mid-21 st century.

The General Statistics Office said that the country’s ageing population would make up 10 percent of the total in 2017.

At present, Vietnam ’s healthy life expectancy is 58.2, which ranks it at 116th place out of 174 countries. With the country’s average life expectancy being 72.2, this means each person suffers 14 years of poor health on average, putting great pressure on the health service as well as on the elderly themselves.

According to the 2009 population and housing census, the number of the elderly living in rural areas was 3.5 times higher than in urban areas and 43 percent of the elderly keep working – most are working in agriculture with low and unstable incomes.

The nation has only five establishments providing care to the elderly and only 40 percent of general hospitals have gerontology faculties.

The problem of an ageing population is posing a great challenge to the national strategy on population an reproductive health as well as the system of social welfare policies in both short and long teams./.