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Vietnam assisted to meet needs of aging population

JICA and WB on August 7 jointly launched a knowledge-sharing programme to assist policymakers in Vietnam with developing new models of care services for the elderly as Vietnam’s population is aging at a pace faster than any of its regional peers.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the World Bank (WB) will jointly assist policymakers in Vietnam with developing new models of care services for the elderly.


The first activity under this new program was alearning seminar in Hanoi where 40 government officials from various lineministries, including Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, Ministryof Health, Ministry of Finance and Vietnam National Committee on Aging participatedto gain a better understanding of the nature of the issues and challenges ofeldercare the country is facing.

“Rapid population aging inVietnam will have significant economic, social and fiscal implications,” said Ousmane Dione, WB Country Director for Vietnam,adding the country needs to startpreparing for an ageing society now by developing a comprehensive andfinancially sustainable health and social care service system that can providethe elderly with the care they need.

“Over the past decade, JICAhas been supporting Thailand to develop Community-based Integrated Care Modelwhile adopting to the local context,” said Tetsuo Konaka, JICA Vietnam Office’s Chief Representative.

“We believe that by utilisingexperiences and lessons learned from Thailand and Japan, Vietnam can learn howto develop and implement an effective care model for elderly people,” he said.

At the seminar, experts from Japan and Thailand sharedtheir experiences and lessons learnt in designing policies and institutionalarrangements with proper attention to the associated fiscal impacts.

Based on current demographic trends, Vietnam’s elderlypopulation will double from 7 percent to 14 percent of the total population – the threshold for a country’s population to beconsidered aged – in about 17 years. In comparison, it took Singapore andThailand 22 and 20 years, respectively, to reach this threshold. Vietnam isprojected to become an aged society around 2035.

Likemany other countries, family members, particularly women, have been the defacto care-givers for older adults in Vietnam. However, as the family structureevolves and the needs of elders become increasingly complex, there is an imperativefor interventions to go beyond the household level to be effective.

Tofacilitate a transition to a new eldercare model, Vietnam needs to addressmajor structural bottlenecks including limited access to essential medical andsocial care services as well as weak collaboration across relevant sectors(health, social, and finance, among others).

The joint programme will be implemented in threephases from August 2019 to 2020.

Following the seminar, there will be a study tour toThailand to enhance the learning for participants and promote South-Southlearning. The last phase will focus on internalizing key learnings from thestudy tour, synthesise these learnings into policy recommendations and developa service model. –VNA



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