Elderly Care Industry Potentials Left Untapped
|At the online forum. (Photo: Dien Dan Doanh Nghiep)|
About 100 representatives from both national and international businesses attended the first-ever virtual business forum to promote the private sector’s participation in the development of business services for older persons in the Covid-19 and the new normal context in Vietnam.
The business forum was co-chaired by Vo Tan Thanh, vice chairman of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and director of VCCI Ho Chi Minh City and Naomi Kitahara, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) representative for Vietnam.
The forum was among a series of interventions funded by the Government of Japan through the project "Mitigating the negative impacts of Covid-19 on vulnerable population groups - Ensuring National Progress to Achieve SDGs in Vietnam".
The business forum discussed the current situation of the elderly care industry and the care needs as well as the potential of a ‘silver’ market in Covid and a new normal context.
A report on Market Outlook for Elderly Care Service in Vietnam was presented at the forum and its findings indicate that the domestic service market for the elderly is very promising with 20 million "potential customers" by 2035. As an extremely valuable intellectual and experience pool, the elderly is an important asset contributing to the development of the country. The elderly are also a crucial driving force for a special emerging market, which can generate good sales, income, and jobs for society.
The businesses also had a straightforward dialogue with policymakers, particularly with regard to the government’s policies for the care industry. To maximize the opportunities resulting from population aging, the participants explored the trends and future prospects, including innovative solutions for the care industry to meet the needs of older persons, especially amid Covid.
|Vo Tan Thanh, vice chairman of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and director of VCCI Ho Chi Minh City deliver the opening speech. (Photo: Dien Dan Doanh Nghiep)|
In his opening speech, the VCCI vice-chairman confirmed that the business forum constituted a timely intervention, especially when HCM City and many other provinces and cities across the country were hardly hit by the fourth wave of the Covid-19, causing negative impacts on the country’s socio-economic development.
According to him, the elderly care industry in Vietnam is huge, yet its potentials are untapped. The development of this care industry so far is not sufficient to meet the increasing and diversified needs of older persons. There have been several factors that can hinder further development. They include under-developed infrastructure; need for incentive policies to encourage the private sector to invest in; limited financial and human resources as well as unavailability of technologies. There are no effective service models yet which are in line with the culture of the Vietnamese people while communications strategies and activities need to be more effective to make the Vietnamese older persons change their attitudes and practices.
This business forum is an opportunity for all the stakeholders to discuss and create a breakthrough in this important and potential industry, Thanh said.
Kitahara also echoed her co-chairman by saying that the organization of this special forum was significant, given the fact that the participation of businesses in the care industry for older persons is limited.
“While the virus spreads among persons of all ages, older persons and those with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk of developing severe conditions and having higher death rates. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s population aging is progressing fast and the country will transition from the “aging” to the “aged” society by 2036. While this presents implications on the need for care and support for the elderly population, it can also present a business opportunity for the care industry,” Kitahara stressed.
Vietnam’s population aging is progressing fast due to mortality and fertility declines. In 2020, older people aged 65 and above accounted for 8% of the population, and it is estimated that by 2036, Vietnam will transition from the “aging” to the “aged” country where those aged 65 and above will be 14% of the total population.
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs estimates that there are around 4 million older persons who require daily care in 2019, and the number will increase to around 10 million people by 2030.
Minister Okabe from the Embassy of Japan to Vietnam told the forum that his country shares the same trend of population aging and low fertility, and a lot of private sector businesses, many of which are very unique and innovative, have developed in the past decades to provide care and services to the elderly population. "The Government of Japan is honored to support UNFPA and the VCCI to engage the businesses in dialogues with policymakers, particularly with regards to the Government’s policies for the care industry.”
The participants to the forum are managers from the FDIs; local companies and manufacturers as well as from Japanese companies. Representatives from the international chambers of commerce, including Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KORCHAM), American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), and European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham), and economic officers of international consulates.
The forum wrapped up with recommendations for the next steps to ensure that older persons must be a priority in Vietnam’s efforts to overcome Covid-19 and that no one is left behind in humanitarian response as well as in development efforts.
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