Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien requested the improvement of population quality and healthcare for the elderly during a conference in Hanoi on January 18 to launch its 2019 tasks regarding population and family planning.
He also asked for maintaining the birth rate and limiting the increase in sex ratio at birth.
Last year saw the first year of implementation for Resolution No.21-NQ/TW dated October 25, 2017 adopted by the sixth conference of the 12th Party Central Committee on population work in the new situation.
Speaking at the event, Deputy General Director of the General Office for Population and Family Planning Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan said the nationwide population hit 94.67 million in 2018, 1 million higher than 2017. The total number of new-born babies reached 1.38 million. The rate of married couples adopting contraceptive methods hit 66.5 percent, lower than the target of 67.4 percent.
Regarding population demographics, the sex ratio at birth hit a record with 115.1 boys to 100 girls, up three percentage points from 2017 and falling short of the targeted 112.8 boys to 100 girls.
Ninety-four percent of the elderly were covered by health insurance, compared to the targeted 100 percent. Meanwhile, only 10.3 percent of senior citizens underwent health checkups at least once per year.
According to Lan, expenses for the communications campaign on population were reduced last year, thus affecting results.
In 2019, the sector has set the targets of having a 95.7 million population, a 1.06 percent population growth, the average life expectancy of 73.6 years and the sex ratio at birth at 114 boys to 100 girls.
The rate of modern contraceptive method adoption should reach 68 percent, while the increase in gender ratio at birth will hit 0.4 percentage point. Meanwhile, the rate of pre-natal testing among pregnant women will hit 45 percent and the rate of unwanted pregnancies among young people will fall by 15 percent. All elderly people will be covered by health insurance.
The sector suggested that the Government should ask the Ministry of Finance to amend regulations ensuring the funding of 50,000 VND (2.1 USD) per person per year towards population work and allowing the import of contraceptive tools which are not domestically-produced and without representative offices in Vietnam.