HCMC lifespan three years higher than national average

By Le Phuong   January 27, 2024 | 02:00 am PT
HCMC lifespan three years higher than national average
People take a walk inside the Tao Dan Park of HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
The average lifespan of a Ho Chi Minh City is 76.5 years, three years higher than the national mean, and the city's population is aging rapidly.

Pham Chanh Trung, head of the municipal Department of Population and Family Planning, said on Tuesday that low birth rates, low death rates and rising life expectancy have contributed to the city's quickly aging population.

Specifically, over 1.3 million people in HCMC are aged 60 and above, accounting for 12% of the population. Birth rates in the city are also the lowest in the country, at 1.27 children per woman, according to 2023 data from the General Statistics Office.

Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, vice director of the city's Department of Health, said elderly people are facing burdens of diseases, as well as the risk of not being able to take care of themselves due to their ailing bodies and high treatment costs. Many elderly people have no one to take care of them, while the number of nursing homes in the city remains low and cannot keep up with demand.

In 2013, the health department launched health evaluation campaigns for elderly people that revealed over 51% had hypertension, 15% had diabetes, and significant numbers were suffering other underlying conditions like asthma, cancer or anxiety disorders. The programs also showed that many elderly people lived dependent lifestyles and cannot take care of themselves, even for basic needs like bathing, eating or moving around.

The city’s healthcare system has been unable to keep up with the rapidly aging population, health authorities said.

A friendly environment for the elderly, as well as long-term forms of healthcare in the community, have also not been created, coordinated and sustainable.

HCMC currently has 24 social support facilities and nursing homes, both public and private. Very few elderly people are being taken care of in concentrated facilities, while people’s demand for such services keeps rising.

Le Van Thanh, former head of the research department for culture and society at the Ho Chi Minh City Institute for Development Studies, said that the high population density and limited numbers of nursing homes and other support facilities for elderly people mean it is harder for them to gain access to healthcare services. Urban infrastructures, such as elderly-friendly elevators and pathways, have also not been well-developed.

Thanh said a city model that is friendly to elderly people would be proposed, in accordance with criteria by the WHO. The city will also pilot nursing home models, as well as daytime healthcare centers for elderly people.

HCMC will provide free health checks for all elderly people this year to help detect diseases early, lower treatment costs, and improve their quality of life.

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