Promoting healthcare combined with encouraging the role of the elderly

Monday, 2017-09-25 16:25:22
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Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam speaks at the conference. (Credit:
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NDO – In addition to providing healthcare for the elderly, it is necessary to develop policies to promote the role of the elderly in society as it is one of the best ways of caring for them, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has said.

The government official made the suggestion during an international conference on community-based healthcare for the elderly, hosted by the Ministry of Health (MOH) at Hanoi-based National Geriatric Hospital, on September 25, in celebration of the International Day of Older Persons (October 1).

Deputy PM Dam said that, despite a number of difficulties, Vietnam has adopted various policies to care for and promote the role of the elderly and the life expectancy of the Vietnamese people has increased. In 2016, Vietnam had 10.1 million elderly people, accounting for 11% of the total population, of which over 2 million people were 80 years old. However, Vietnam is a typical country that has a rapidly aging population, therefore, appropriate policy for the elderly to live comfortably is a matter of concern, he said.

The deputy PM suggested that Vietnam needs to take care of elderly people based on the community with a developed family medicine model and strengthened geriatric hospital systems. He stressed the need for the establishment of more nursing homes in line with Vietnamese cultural traditions, while promoting the development of grassroots healthcare to not only prevent diseases but to also provide primary healthcare for the elderly, focusing on chronic diseases.

Praising the importance of the seminar, Deputy PM Dam urged the participants to fully analyse any difficulties, challenges and opportunities in the protection, care for and promotion of the role of the elderly, as well as making practical recommendations for policy makers in order to improve healthcare for the elderly.

Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam visits an elderly patient at the Department of Cardiovascular Intervention under the National Geriatric Hospital. (Credit:

Three plenary sessions at the conference discussed topics related to the policies on elderly healthcare, the management of common chronic diseases in the elderly, and training and developing human resources for geriatric healthcare.

Scientific reports at the conference pointed to policy issues and experiences in implementing community-based healthcare for the elderly, such as the increased readiness of healthcare services, focusing on chronic disease management for the elderly and enhancing the role of family doctors; supporting lifestyle changes and the promotion of healthy and active aging; whilst encouraging the participation of the private sector and the social community to coordinate in elderly care.

According to the Department of Population and Family Planning (under the MOH), in Vietnam 65.7% of the elderly are living in rural areas and are farmers and agricultural workers. Life expectancy is relative high (at 73 years) but healthy life age is low (at 64 years).

In addition, Vietnam is among the fastest aging countries in the world, whilst the social security system does not meet the needs of the elderly, as there is neither a long-term care system nor an employment supply network for the elderly.

The General Department recommends that in the near future, the health sector should increase its investment in and improve primary healthcare, as well as integrating healthcare with social care for the elderly, focusing on health and nutrition for the elderly, building a friendly environment for them and promoting family and community-based caring for the elderly.