People attend the launch of the smart phone app - NKT - for persons with disabilities. Photo Courtesy of UNDP
HÀ NỘI – A new smartphone app is aiming to make the lives of disabled people in Việt Nam easier by giving them better access to support.
The NKT app gives people with disabilities, particularly survivors from accidents with explosive ordnance, the chance to provide and access data about their disabilities and print a disability certificate to receive Government assistance and communicate other needs to authorities.
The digital platform at nkt.btxh.gov.vn for registry and information management for persons with disabilities (PwD) was launched on Tuesday in Hà Nội as part of the Korea-Việt Nam Mine Action Project (KV-MAP).
The project partners are the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Việt Nam National Mine Action Center (VNMAC) with support from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA).
An estimated more than 6 million people in Việt Nam, accounting for 7 per cent of the population, live with a disability.
The digital platform aims to make their lives easier and support the provision of needs-based assistance.
Information registered in the database will be kept confidential.
“This application is very user-friendly and easy-to-navigate. This is a great application for persons with disabilities,” said Trần Lệ Quyên, a sign language teacher at the Support and Connect Deaf People to Society (SCDeaf) organisation.
“With this application, I can update and access data anytime, anywhere I want,” said Cao Ngọc Hùng, a 31-year-old javelin athlete who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil.
“When logging into this application, I can register my information on my disability level with the local authority. For people with disabilities in remote areas, using this application saves them from travelling and enables them to update their needs and then receive appropriate support from the Government and different projects."
For social protection officers, the digital platform transforms the management of support for persons with disabilities. It enables MOLISA and its provincial departments to develop the national database with timely and accurate information on persons with disabilities in support of evidence-based policymaking and targeted assistance.
The digital platform has been successfully tested in Quảng Bình, Bình Định, Khánh Hòa, Thanh Hóa, Quảng Ninh, Quảng Nam and Vĩnh Long provinces, as well as Huế and Đà Nẵng cities, with 90,000 persons with disabilities having already agreed to be registered.
These include the 75,000 people who decided to register when the initial district-level pilot was scaled up to a provincial-level assessment covering both Quảng Bình and Bình Định, thanks to the Korea-Viet Nam Mine Action Project.
This experience helped make the online platform ready for use throughout Việt Nam, and this has become easier with the launch of the app for smartphones using either iOS or Android operating systems.
“We will promote these applications widely, while at the same time continue developing the skills of social workers enabling them to meet the needs of those they serve,” said Nguyễn Văn Hồi, Vice Minister of MOLISA.
The platform is entirely web-based and the data is centrally stored and managed. With 70 per cent of Vietnamese people owning a smartphone, the app was developed for such devices, enhancing the access to services for the population.
The application is currently being upgraded with additional support functions to assist people during registration.
At the launch of the digital platform, UNDP Resident Representative Caitlin Wiesen emphasised the importance of promoting innovative solutions to solve issues for persons with disabilities, who are among the most vulnerable populations in society and have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19.
“The UNDP rapid assessment of socio-economic impacts of COVID 19 on PwD showed that 24 per cent of the respondents did not have a disability certificate, which limited their ability to access the services and assistance they need,” she said.
Cho Han-Deog, Country Director of KOICA Viet Nam Office said the availability of the app was a commendable initiative contributing to the greater goal of Việt Nam to make society more inclusive.
“I am happy to see persons with disabilities, including survivors from accidents with explosive ordnance, now will have easier access to social assistance,” he said. VNS