Better care for senior citizens

HCM City's Population and Family Planning Division will focus on programmes for elderly people's welfare in the year to come.

At a meeting held on December 25 to mark Vietnam's Population Day (December 26), To Thi Kim Hoa, Head of the Division, said a survey is being done on senior citizens' need for counselling and care.

Welfare workers and volunteers in districts would be trained in counselling and caring skills, she said.

Plans for a community-based elderly people's counselling and care project would be submitted to the Department of Health for approval, she said.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Vietnamese population is ageing rapidly with the number of people over 60 accounting for 10 per cent of the entire due to the rising life expectancy and declining death and birth rates.

It forecast the population to start ageing in 2017 and be aged by 2035.

In HCM City, the rate of elderly people reduced from 6.52% in 2006 to 6.02% last year, but Hoa said it was only because the number of young immigrants has increased.

The actual number of elderly people is actually rising every year, and it is time for such programmes, she said.

The programmes would direct the community's attention to the issue of an ageing population, she said.

The division would work with television channels and Radio the Voice of HCM City to disseminate information about them, she added.

Besides providing care for seniors, the programmes would also help rectify the gender imbalance, strengthen prenatal and neonatal screening, and improve contraception, pre-marriage health care, and reproductive health by 2015.

The division will continue to collaborate with the Department of Health to inspect foetal ultrasound services in public and private health facilities to prevent sex selection.

Nguyen Tan Binh, the department's head, said the city this year hit the targets of reducing the crude birth rate by 0.01 per thousand, reducing the birth of third babies to less than 4%, and screening 32% of pregnant women and 64% of newborns.

The sex ratio for children born this year is 106 boys to 100 girls.

VNA/VOV online