On August 17, 2023, the Ministry of Health held “The kick-off workshop of the project TA9928 and the initial findings of local need assessment on long-term care for older people in Vietnam”, at Fortuna Hotel, Hanoi.
The project TA9928 is funded by The Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) through the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Attending the workshop were experts from ADB, representatives from the Ministry of Health (MoH), Departments under the MoH, the Ministry of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA). the Institute of Social and Medical Studies (ISMS), representatives of the Health sector, the Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs sector, Association of the Elderly in the provinces of Thanh Hoa, Hoa Binh, Hanoi, Bac Giang, Ninh Binh, Hung Yen, Thua Thien – Hue, international organizations including WHO, HelpAge International in Vietnam (HAI), and national and international experts.
In the workshop, Ms. Tran Bich Thuy – Country Director of HAI gave a presentation on the “Overview of Community-Based Long-Term Care (TLC) Pilot Model for the older people and Stakeholders in the Pilot Model”. Information about the project area (Thanh Hoa and Hoa Binh), stakeholders involved in the Pilot Model, and activities are shared and highlighted.
Additionally, in the workshop, there were also presentations and sharing from national and international experts on the LTC model and lessons learned from other countries, key findings of need assessment in the TA9928 project. Associate Prof. Pham Huy Tuan Kiet – Training Institute of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Hanoi Medical University – Financial Expert on LTC for older people has a sharing about “Service package of nursing care for the older people – Impact analysis to the Health Insurance Law. The cost of the package of health care services for older people: initial findings”, aiming to bring practical evidence to propose amendments to the Health Insurance Law, legal documents or laws that need to supplement LTC definition.
Participants actively participated in the discussion sessions, especially representatives of the local Association of the Elderly (AE). Mr. Thieu Le Huan – Chief of Office, Thanh Hoa Provincial AE said that Thanh Hoa now has around 1,200 Intergenerational Self-Help Clubs (ISHCs), with about 6,000 volunteers, who are providing care for more than 10,000 community people in need, which is a powerful labor force to help implement LTC activities. However, those volunteers are not trained, lack the knowledge and skills to care. If volunteers are trained or have documents such as TLC handbooks, videos, etc. to help strengthen the capacity of volunteers, the quality of care will be greatly improved.
Mr. Dinh Ngoc Ha – President of Ninh Binh Provincial AE also shared about the activities of ISHCs across the province. He emphasized that ISHC is an effective and comprehensive model that helps to take care of older people in the community and at home, helping to reduce the burden for the health sector, and saving costs for the Government in older people care. However, currently, there is still a lack of attention and support from Departments and authorities to ISHCs. In order to promote care for older people, support from several Departments and authorities is a key factor in promoting health and care for older people toward a healthy aging society.
Delegates enthusiastically discussed which departments/units at national and local levels will act as the focal point/coordinator of the LTC area and how to organize and guide the implementation in localities.
Ms. Meredith Wyse – Senior Specialist for Social Development – ADB’s LTC System shared that LTC is a process that requires the involvement of the Government and several departments. She also gave the example of an LTC system in Thailand that is due to the coordination of many ministries such as the Ministry of Public Health responsible for capacity building, the Ministry of Finance responsible for funding, etc.
To conclude the workshop, Mr. Phan Van Toan – Deputy Director of the Department of Health Insurance (DHI) emphasized that LTC is not only health care but also includes mental and social care. Vietnam is one of the countries with the fastest aging population in the world, but the income still belongs to lower and middle-income countries, and the concept of LTC in Vietnam is still new, there is no written document or any policy that deals with LTC. Currently, we are still confused about the issues around the LTC area. In the coming time, we need to discuss further specifically who/which unit will coordinate activities on LTC and how to implement LTC in localities, how is the participation of the departments, and how to promote to include LTC in the government documents.