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Viet Nam ageing rapidly, needs appropriate strategies: UNFPA

Update: October, 05/2015 - 09:09
Viet Nam needs realistic and appropriate policies and strategies to cope with its ageing population in future. — Photo

HCM CITY (VNS) — Viet Nam needs realistic and appropriate policies and strategies to cope with its ageing population in future, a seminar in HCM City has heard.

Ritsu Nacken, Acting Representative of the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) in Viet Nam, said last Friday, "Viet Nam has officially entered the ageing phase since 2011, and is among the most rapidly ageing countries in the world."

Its pace of ageing is much faster than the developed countries in Europe. Nacken said, for instance, France took more than 100 years to change from an ageing to aged society, but Viet Nam would make that transition in 20 years.

Together with a rapid decrease in births, increasing life expectancy has led to a quickly ageing population.

Nguyen Ngoc Quynh of UNFPA said the country is in its golden demographic stage, with two-thirds of its population in working age. But, on the other hand, "the platinum-hair population" (over 60) is expected to increase from 10 per cent in 2011 to 20 per cent in 2030 and 30 per cent in 2050.

Rapid ageing creates various pressures on economic growth, as well as on the infrastructure and social welfare services, experts agreed at the seminar held by the UNFPA and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Nguyen Thi Lan Huong, director of the Institute for Labour Science and Social Affairs, said the Government has to spend a lot on healthcare, retirement allocations and social allowances.

Most older people still live in rural areas, and less than 50 per cent of them have benefited from social policies. Services to support and care for elderly people are poor, she said.

Delegates suggested several solutions like increased health-protection awareness, enhancing productivity and creating jobs for the elderly.

Economist Pham Chi Lan said the Government should reconsider labour regulations, including retirement ages. It is unreasonable that when the longevity has increased regulations on retirement ages remain unchanged, she said.

Huong said older employees can be a valuable asset for their wealth of experience, reliability and proven commitment, and the Government should have policies to encourage especially those with specialised skills to continue working.

It should also expand the voluntary healthcare insurance to rural areas and develop services required by older persons, like healthcare, she said.

Vo Tan Thanh, director of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry's HCM City chapter, said because of the changing labour demographics businesses need to think up policies to efficiently use ageing workers.

Quynh said life expectancy in the country is now 88, which means older people can be increasingly healthy, leading to a tremendous demand for products and services from the "platinum-hair" market. — VNS

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