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Vietnam health ministry proposes elderly career training for aging population

Vietnam health ministry proposes elderly career training for aging population

Thursday, July 11, 2024, 07:32 GMT+7
Vietnam health ministry proposes elderly career training for aging population
An elderly person works as a street vendor in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

The Vietnamese Ministry of Health’s Draft Population Law proposes training and career change policies specifically tailored for the elderly to address population aging.

The ministry reported significant demographic shifts over recent decades in a review for the bill.

Specifically, between 1979 and 1989, Vietnam’s overall population grew 20 percent, with the elderly population increasing 25 percent.

From 1989 to 1999, the respective growth rates were 18 percent and 33 percent. 

From 1999 to 2016, the population expanded 21.1 percent, while the elderly population surged 49.4 percent. 

Notably, the fastest-growing demographic group is individuals aged 80 and above, who are receiving social benefits without pensions or other forms of support.

According to the 2016 census data, upon reaching retirement age, the average Vietnamese person lives an additional 18.3 years, whereas for women, this figure rises to 24.7 years. 

Many healthy elderly individuals possess high professional skills and technical qualifications, remaining capable of working to supplement their income and enhance their quality of life.

Despite this, the proportion of economically active elderly individuals remains stagnant. 

A significant 57 percent of the economically active elderly work in low-productivity agriculture.

Only 20 percent remain economically active in urban areas, albeit with better health and higher skills, while 42.5 percent of the elderly people in rural areas engage in economic activities.

This underscores untapped potential among highly skilled labor forces. 

Currently, job creation for senior citizens remains a challenge, with over four million elderly people working predominantly in vulnerable, low-income sectors.

Of that, nearly 80 percent are self-employed or engaged in household labor.

Moreover, the average monthly income of the elderly stands at approximately VND3.8 million (US$150), equivalent to only 34 percent of the market average salary, highlighting disparities and economic challenges faced by this demographic.

Proposed strategies

In response to the aforementioned challenges, the Ministry of Health proposes developing strategies to adapt to population aging and address the increasing needs of the elderly population. 

Specifically, the ministry proposes establishing processes and professional guidelines for healthcare and long-term care tailored to aged individuals. 

This includes healthcare service packages and long-term care systems designed to cater to diverse gender, age, educational, cultural, economic, and societal characteristics, and customized for various regions and locales.

Moreover, the ministry advocates for the development of training and career transition programs and initiatives targeting workers before they reach elderly status. 

These programs are designed to align career choices with health, qualifications, capacities, and market demands, while fostering a supportive work environment suited to elderly workers.

The ministry anticipates that these measures will alleviate population pressures in major cities and ensure an adequate workforce to meet economic development demands. 

It aims to facilitate the balanced distribution of population and labor across regions, leveraging labor resources more effectively in the development process.

Simultaneously, the ministry recommends increasing investment in economic development in underdeveloped regions and supporting initiatives to encourage resettlement and rational population distribution. 

It advocates for incentives to promote residency and employment in areas facing labor shortages.

However, successful implementation of these strategies hinges on adequate state funding for public awareness campaigns, advocacy efforts, and the development and dissemination of detailed guidelines and documents.

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Bao Anh - Duong Lieu / Tuoi Tre News

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