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Population crises demand reforms

Update: October, 18/2013 - 08:57

HA NOI (VNS) — New challenges are coming from the country's rapid rate of ageing, gender imbalance at birth, gender inequality, and poor access to reproductive health services in some areas, which requires timely adjustments in population policies.

Experts gave this opinion at a workshop on key directions for Viet Nam's population policy in the coming time held by the Central Committee for Propaganda and Communication and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Wednesday.

At the event, UNFPA representative in Viet Nam Arthur Erken said that Viet Nam should focus more efforts on handling unmet demands by ensuring quality and comprehensively access of reproductive and sexual health, especially in remote, mountainous areas or ethnic minorities group.

Rapid reduction of birth rate and increasing life expectancy due to population ageing have posed challenges for Viet Nam in meeting increasing demands in social welfare, health care services, human resources, according to Erken.

Erken also suggested that the youth was making up around 40 per cent of Viet Nam's population, the highest rate ever in the country's history. So that, investment for the youth in access to quality social services, including reproductive health and sexual services, education, job training and opportunity, would bring sustainable development for the country.

"Population ageing presents societies with great opportunities but also huge challenges. Viet Nam has faced pressing challenges due to high population scale of nearly 90 million people and population quality at mean level," said the committee deputy head Lam Phuong Thanh.

Thanh sad that new challenges in population and family planning would require the involvement of the country's whole political system and international supports, especially the UNFPA.

Professor Nguyen Dinh Cu from the National Economic University said that population policy should be changed from family planning to overall reproductive health care, immigration and population structuring, with proper targets and measures for specific provinces and areas.

Cu also suggested that education and communication programmes should be put forwards nation-wide in an effort to handle the issues of gender inequality and gender imbalance at birth.

The Ministry of Health's Population and Family Planning Department statistics showed that Viet Nam has gained remarkable results in reducing population growth and birth rates. The birth rate had been reduced firmly from 2.11 (per 1,000) in 2005 to 1.99 in 2011. Life expectancy was increased from 40 in 1960 to 73 in 2012. — VNS

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