The Hanoitimes - Based on current demographic trends, Vietnam’s elderly population will double from 7% to 14% of the total population – the threshold for a country’s population to be considered aged – in about 17 years.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the World Bank (WB) on August 7 jointly launched a knowledge-sharing program to assist policymakers in Vietnam with developing new models of elderly care services as Vietnam’s population is aging at a pace faster than any of its regional peers.
The first activity under this new program was a learning seminar in Hanoi where 40 government officials from various ministries, including the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance and Vietnam National Committee on Aging participated to gain a better understanding of the nature of the issues and challenges of eldercare the country is facing.
Based on current demographic trends, Vietnam’s elderly population will double from 7% to 14% of the total population – the threshold for a country’s population to be considered aged – in about 17 years.
JICA and WB jointly support Vietnam to meet needs of aging population. Photo: WB
In comparison, it took Singapore and Thailand 22 and 20 years, respectively, to reach this threshold. Vietnam is projected to become an aged society around 2035.
“Rapid population ageing in Vietnam will have significant economic, social and fiscal implications,” said Ousmane Dione, WB country director for Vietnam.
“Vietnam needs to start preparing for an ageing society now by developing a comprehensive and financially sustainable health and social care service system that can provide the elderly with the care they need,” Ousmane Dione added.
Like many other countries, family members, particularly women, have been the de facto care-givers for older adults in Vietnam.
However, as the family structure evolves and the needs of elders become increasingly complex, there is an imperative need for interventions to go beyond the household level to be effective.
To facilitate a transition to a new eldercare model, Vietnam needs to address major structural bottlenecks including limited access to essential medical and social care services as well as weak collaboration across relevant sectors (health, social, and finance, among others).
“Over the past decade, JICA has been supporting Thailand to develop Community-based Integrated Care Model while adopting to the local context," said Tetsuo Konaka, JICA Vietnam Office’s chief representative.
He believes that by utilizing experiences and lessons learned from Thailand and Japan, Vietnam can learn how to develop and implement an effective care model for elderly people.