JICA, World Bank support Vietnam to meet aging population’s needs

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the World Bank have jointly launched a knowledge-sharing programme to assist Vietnam to develop new models of elderly care services.

The workshop on Vietnam's aging population. (Photo: World Bank)
The workshop on Vietnam's aging population. (Photo: World Bank)

The programme was announced at a workshop on August 7 at a time when Vietnam’s population is ageing at a pace faster than its regional peers.
Vietnam’s elderly population is expected to double from 7% to 14% of the total population – the threshold for a country’s population to be considered aged – in about 17 years.

The country is projected to become an aged society around 2035.

“Vietnam needs to start preparing for an ageing society now by developing a comprehensive and financially sustainable health and social care service system that can provide the elderly with the care they need.” said Ousmane Dione, the World Bank Country Director for Vietnam.

Like many other countries, family members, particularly women, have been the de facto care-givers for older adults in Vietnam.

However, as the family structure evolves and the needs of elders become increasingly complex, there is an imperative for interventions to go beyond the household level to be effective.

To facilitate a transition to a new elderly care model, Vietnam needs to address major structural bottlenecks including limited access to essential medical and social care services as well as weak collaboration across relevant sectors (health, social, and finance, among others).

But the country stands to benefit from the experiences of other peers.

At the seminar, experts from Japan and Thailand shared their experiences and lessons learnt in designing policies and institutional arrangements with proper attention to the associated fiscal impacts.

Vietnam can learn how to develop and implement an effective care model for elderly people, said Tetsuo Konaka, JICA Vietnam Office’s Chief Representative.

The joint programme will be implemented in three phases from August 2019 to March/April 2020.