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Government to build more centres for lonely elderly

Update: December, 02/2013 - 09:16

The Ministry of Construction proposed that the Government set up centres to take care of lonely old people in 10 provinces and cities.— File Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Construction proposed that the Government set up centres to take care of lonely old people in 10 provinces and cities.

About 1.15 per cent of Viet Nam's elderly, or 100,000 people, are unable to take care of themselves, according to the ministry. However, only 3,500 live in social centres.

Minister of Construction Trinh Dinh Dung said that there were not enough such centres to house the entire nation's old people. While there are more than 400 nationwide, only 180 take care of the elderly; the others house disabled people and orphans.

Moreover, Dung added, these centres look after old people's living conditions but do not pay enough attention to their spiritual lives and mental health.

Under the proposal, each province and city will set up one centre that can take care of about 50 old people. The centres will be built under state, non-state or community models.

State centres, funded by the state budget, care for old people who contributed to the resistance wars or are poor and cannot take care of themselves.

Non-state centres enjoy priority policies related to land, capital and taxes but look after old people who can pay for check-up and treatment services.

Community-based centres are supported by external organisations and individuals.

Each centre will cost about VND12 billion (US$571,400) to build, which will come from a combination of local budget and funds for social services and includes VND10 billion ($476,190) for construction and VND2 billion ($95,200) for equipment.

The centres will be piloted in the northern provinces of Cao Bang and Tuyen Quang, the central provinces of Thanh Hoa and Nghe An and the southern provinces of Tra Vinh and Dong Thap.

They are expected to open by July 2015.

Meanwhile, associate professor Luong Ngoc Khue, director of the Ministry of Health (MoH)'s Medical Service Administration, suggested setting up specialised geriatrics hospitals or geriatrics wards within established hospitals.

According to a plan approved by MoH, National Geriatrics Hospital 2 with 500 sick beds will be built in 2015 and two geriatrics hospitals will be built in HCM City and the central city of Da Nang.

Khue also suggested daytime hospitals, which would provide services during the day so patients could go home in the evening.

Doctors and medical workers should be trained to specialise in geriatrics, he said, and supporting services at home for the elderly, including cleaning, cooking, physical therapy and health consultancy, should be improved.

Professor Nguyen Cong Khan, director of MoH's Science, Technology and Training Department, added that a steering committee for geriatric health care would be set up by MoH and the National Assembly's Social Affairs Committee by the beginning of next year.

By the end of next year, the committee expects to build an overall plan for taking care of the elderly. — VNS

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