25 pct of Vietnam's elderly find health services unaffordable

TN News

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A national survey has found that more than 50 percent of Vietnamese senior citizens are in poor health and nearly half of those who are ailing said they can't afford health services.

The Vietnam National Aging Survey (VNAS), the results of which were released in Hanoi on Friday, also showed that 50 percent of over 4,000 elderly people surveyed know their welfare rights, the government website reported that day.

VNAS was conducted among people over 50 years old between October and December last year, the website said.

They came from 12 provinces and cities representing Vietnam's six different ecological areas, including Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, the northern province of Hung Yen, and the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang.

According to the survey, around 14 percent of elderly people are living in poor households.

Fifty nine percent are still working, mainly in the agricultural sector, a report on Vietnam News Agency (VNA) quoted the survey conclusions as saying, adding that the main reasons elderly people cited for not working were poor health, retirement and commitments to their families.

The VNA report said the survey also pointed out that 31.9 percent of all senior citizens relied on their children's support as their main income, while 29.4 percent took their main incomes from employment. Meanwhile, social welfare and pensions accounts for the main incomes of 25 percent of respondents.

The survey, conducted by the Indochina Research and Consulting Company, and the non-governmental Institute of Social and Medical Studies, noted that the proportion of female senior citizens was increasing, while fewer elderly people are now living with their children than in previous years.

Both developments will provide challenges to Vietnam's official policies on the elderly, VNAS said.

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