Elderly issues and response policies spotlighted

With a rapidly aging domestic population, local and international officials are calling for proper comprehensive preparation.

The National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs coordinated with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to organise a conference on October 15 on policies and laws on population and the elderly. 

Vietnam currently has 9.4 million elderly people, equivalent to 10.5% of the country’s total population, but the rate of the elderly with health insurance is low at just 55%. 

Moreover, only 50% of all hospitals have geriatrics divisions and dementia has not received enough attention. 

The UNFPA said Vietnam has had a large aging population stage since 2011 and is one of the countries with the highest population aging rate; the elderly will account for 23% of the population by 2040. 
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Le Bach Duong, Head of the Population and Development Group and UNFPA representative in Vietnam, said policies and programmes on the elderly need to ensure and execute all basic human rights. 

Comprehensive programmes and policies to ensure social security and welfare for the elderly are needed, said Duong. 

The elderly need access to basic services such as education, health, and life environment as well as a long-term care system to reduce the cost of treating diseases, he said. 

Nguyen Van Lieu, Deputy Director of the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, said relevant research studies revealed many older people depend economically on their relatives and suffer from weak health or chronic or pernicious diseases. 

Socio-economic development policies, especially on social and health insurance, need to be revised to suit realities, said Lieu, adding that the Government needs to have a strategy to build health facilities to meet healthcare models for the elderly. 

Some opinions said that it is critical to boost law enforcement supervision of the elderly – especially of regulations caring for the elderly, exempt fees and revise the Law on the Elderly.