New population strategy aims at improving population quality

Tuesday, 2020-01-07 15:59:21
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Nguyen Doan Tu, Director General of the General Department of Population and Family Planning under the Ministry of Health. (Photo: NDO/Thien Lam)
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NDO – The recently-approved new Population Strategy has set multiple goals for Vietnam towards building a reasonable population structure that increases population quality, serving the nation’s rapid and sustainable development in its new era.

Nguyen Doan Tu, Director General of the General Department of Population and Family Planning (under the Ministry of Health) has granted an interview to Nhan Dan Online regarding Vietnam’s new population strategy.

On November 22, 2019, the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 1679/QĐ-TTg, approving the Vietnam Population Strategy to 2030. He wishes to mobilise all efforts to shift the focus of population policy from family planning to realise comprehensive goals in terms of population size, structure, distribution and especially quality, placed in relationships with all socio-economic aspects, as well as national security.

Regarding the focuses of the Population Strategy to 2030, Tu clarified eight detailed groups of goals to be achieved by 2030, which have been set in the strategy, namely: firmly maintaining replacement fertility levels and reducing fertility disparities across regions and groups; protecting and developing the population of ethnic minorities those of which have less than 10,000 people, especially ethnic groups at risk of sever decline ; bringing the sex ratio at birth to a natural balance and striving to maintain the age structure at a reasonable level; improving the quality of the population; promoting rational population distribution towards ensuring national defence and security; completing the construction and operation of the national database on the population, while accelerating the integration of population factors into the formulation and implementation of socio-economic development plans; maximising the advantages of the “golden population structure”, thus spurring on strong motivation for the country's rapid and sustainable development; and adapting to an aging population while promoting health care for the elderly.

According to Tu, the strategy also sets out eight solutions to realise the goals, namely strengthening the leadership of the Party committees and concerned authorities on the implementation of the strategy; innovating communication on population work; perfecting mechanisms, policies and laws on population; promoting network development and population service quality improvement; speeding up scientific research and perfecting the population information and data systems; ensuring resources for population work; strengthening organisational training structure; and facilitating international cooperation in the field.

However, Tu also pointed to challenges Vietnam could face during the strategy’s implementation in the near future, given the current situation of Vietnam's population.

In which, fertility rate varies significantly among regions and between rural and urban areas, due to the differences in society and socio-economic situations, with high fertility rates in the northern midlands, northern mountainous areas and the Central Highlands, at average of 2.43 children per woman, while urban and developed regions are witnessing fertility rates drop to a low level, such as the Southeast region with 1.56 children, even far below the replacement level like 1.39 children per woman in Ho Chi Minh City.

The imbalance of sex ratio at birth towards an excess of boys over girls has been unreasonably high, while the quality of human resources as well as labour productivity are still limited amidst a population aging fast.

As the key agency for the implementation of the strategy, Tu said that his unit has developed specific plans to help realise the strategy's objectives. The general department plans to coordinate with localities to organise dissemination and communication campaigns on the strategy among the relevant agencies and mass organisations as well as people of all areas, he said, adding that information on the population will be regularly provided to the related ministries, committees and governments from the central to grassroots levels.

The agency will support localities to develop an Action Plan for the 2020-2025 period to implement the strategy with reasonable and achievable targets consistent with the reality of fertility rates, gender imbalance at birth and aging populations of each province.

The agency also plans to submit to the competent authorities a plan to consolidate the apparatus for population work at all levels, as well as one related to investment for population work and incorporating population projects into medium-term public investment programmes.