The multi-dimensional poverty approach measures the basic services of adult education, schooling for children, access to health care services, health insurance, housing quality, house acreage per capita, water access, sanitation systems, telecommunications and information services. Using these measurements, Vietnam’s multi-dimensional poverty rate is 12% and the rate of the near-poor is about 6%.
Moving toward international measurement
Over the past few years, the Vietnamese government has created and implemented a number of policies to help the poor. They include incentive credit, health care, education, housing, and clean water. Program 30A has helped 62 poor districts upgrade their infrastructure, irrigation and transport systems. Lessons learned from poverty reduction programs show the need to change the approach to poverty reduction.
Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) Pham Thi Hai Chuyen said according to international measurement, poverty should not be based only on income but also on acces to basic services.
That’s why in the 2016-2020 period, Vietnam will adopt multidimensional poverty measurement which will measure a higher level of income and take into account access to social services, healthcare, education, clean water and information. This measurement will be implemented on January 1st, 2016.
By changing its approach to poverty reduction, Vietnam is responding to the UN’s sustainable development goals which require poverty reduction to be implemented in all forms and in all poor communities. This new approach will benefit the people.
Director of the National Office on Poverty Reduction Ngo Truong Thi said in the past, Vietnam used income to measure poverty, But this measurement has proved to be relatively inaccurate because sometimes people are poor not because they lack money but because they lack access to services.
That’s why the Prime Minister decided to change the measurement of poverty in the next few years to use both income and access to services.
The approach to be successful in its first year
About US$750 million of the state budget will be spent next year to help the poor and the near-poor. The Prime Minister asked the Ministry of Finance to mobilize resources to make the new poverty approach a success in its first year. The Prime Minister stressed the need to review poverty reduction policies and switch from giving outright aid to extending credit.
Minister Pham Thi Hai Chuyen said the MoLISA consults the government in reviewing all policies for the poor in order to give ministries and sectors new specific targets in poverty reduction. 16 national target programs on poverty reduction have been merged into 2.
They are the National Program on New Rural Development and the Program on Sustainable Poverty Reduction. By doing so, resources will be more concentrated on needy people and localities.
Vietnam achieved its poverty reduction targets 2 years ahead of schedule. It was one of just 6 countries that completed the UN Millennium Development Goals on poverty reduction ahead of schedule.
By changing from a single-dimensional to a multi-dimensional approach in poverty reduction, Vietnam hopes to gain more sustainable results in poverty reduction to complete its social security targets.