HelpAge Cambodia Wants to Learn from Vietnam's Elderly Care Model

The Intergenerational Self-Help Club model can bring many practical benefits to Cambodian older people and prospects to further explore/make the best fit for Cambodia context.

An online meeting on Jan. 7 was held on sharing experiences in replicating and managing the Intergenerational Self-Help Club (ISHC) model between HelpAge International in Vietnam and HelpAge Cambodia.

HelpAge Cambodia Wants to Learn from Vietnam's Elderly Care Model
This meeting marked the good relationship and the spirit of mutual willingness to support each other between the two organizations as well as the global HelpAge International network. Source: HelpAge International in Vietnam.

Since 2014, HelpAge Cambodia has participated in Community Driven Development training conducted by HelpAge International in Hanoi, Vietnam, and piloted the ISHC model through the SANA II (Strengthening Ageing Networks in Asia) project. The results of the project showed that ISHC model brings many practical benefits to Cambodian older people and prospects to further explore/make the best fit for the Cambodia context.

Recently, HelpAge Cambodia has succeeded in receiving funding from BMZ to implement a project. It is called “Development of an intergenerational self-help model for a dignified life of older Cambodians”. The project aims at increased access of older people to health care, incomes, and voices through enhancing roles of community-based organizations in local and national governance toward inclusive and sustainable development.

Finding ISHC model in Vietnam has developed strongly and had many achievements in many aspects, Tum Vira, executive director of HelpAge Cambodia would like to solicit support and work in collaboration with HelpAge Vietnam to be able to further perfect this model in Cambodia.

At the meeting, Tran Bich Thuy, country director of HelpAge International in Vietnam, and Chu Viet Nga, program manager at HelpAge International in Vietnam had cordial sharing on improving club management capacity, training to partners on older people associations establishment and International Learning visit, developing training materials, advocating policies, and promoting the ISHC model in the community as well as in the international level.

Besides sharing and learning from each other's experiences in replicating and managing the club model, this is also a valuable opportunity for HelpAge International in Vietnam to exchange and learning experiences about localization from HelpAge Cambodia.

This meeting marked the good relationship and the spirit of mutual willingness to support each other between the two organizations as well as the global HelpAge International network.

HelpAge Cambodia Wants to Learn from Vietnam's Elderly Care Model
People waits for screening for hypertension and diabetes in Intergenerational Self-Help Clubs in Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam. Source: HelpAge International in Vietnam

Self Help Clubs: Sustainable and Low Operating Costs

HelpAge International in Vietnam, which implements the project, is an international NGO with 10-year experience in advocacy, training, campaign and intervention in older person issues, aging adaptation, and community development.

Intergenerational Self-Help Club (ISHC) model is a community-based intervention project which centers around the elderly, aiming to promote the livelihood and the role of elders in their communities.

In Vietnam, each ISHC has a number of homecare volunteers who are trained to provide support to prioritized older people at least twice per week. The ISHCs take an active role in supporting frail older people, including befriending, helping with housework, provision of personal care, labor assistance and supporting care receivers to integrate in society. As well as supporting more vulnerable older people, the activities benefit volunteers who are trained to provide care.

The ISHC model has been developed by HelpAge International in Vietnam, and in 2016, the prime minister announced the Decision 1533/QĐ-TTG which stated that local governments need to allocate funds for the establishment of ISHC throughout the country; mass organizations and local agencies such as the Father Front Land, Women Unions or Elderly Associations will take the lead in the implementation of the Decision.

Recently, to continue the replication efforts, the prime minister signed Decision 1336 QD/TTg on 31/08/2020 to approve the National Project on replicating the ISHC in the period by 2025.

Population aging is a global phenomenon, with virtually every country in the world experiencing growth in both the size and the proportion of older persons in the population.

ASEAN has more than 45 million people aged 65 or above, accounting for 7% of total ASEAN’s population (in 2019). This number is projected to be 132 million, 16.7% of the total, by 2050.

Vietnam has officially entered the "agiing phase" since 2011, with the number of older persons (at aged 65 years or over) accounting for 7% of the total population. Currently, the number of older persons (65 years or over) is 7.4 million older persons, accounting for 7.7% of the total population. It will increase to 22.3 million (20.4%) by 2050. Vietnam is one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world.

HelpAge International in Vietnam had been awarded the Grand Prize in the Community Based Initiative category of The Healthy Aging Prize for Asian Innovation (HAPI) 2020.

The Healthy Aging Prize for Asian Innovation is an award program designed to recognize and amplify innovative policies, programs, services, and products that address the challenges facing aging societies.

This prize is an initiative of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia and the Japan Center for International Exchange, carried out under the auspices of the Japanese government’s Asia Health and Wellbeing Initiative.

According to the award committee, the ISHC model had won this noble award because it promoted the role of older persons in the community, encouraged them to participate in meaningful social activities.

In addition, the ISHC model is very sustainable, achieving high efficiency with low operating costs. At the same time, this model is recognized by the Government of Vietnam and is included in long-term national plans.

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22:27 | 28/01/2022
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