Since 2007 MSAVLC have been supporting a Health Education Program for the elderly in the Ky Anh District, Ha Tinh Province in Vietnam. There are about 18,000 elderly people in Ky Anh District, 10.5% of the population.
Ky Anh is a poor community with harsh weather conditions. Many of the elderly have been badly educated due to the war years, and many suffer from ill health. Most of them make a living from farming, but the harsh weather conditions sometimes produce severe droughts or floods which result in passive production and low productivity. Due to this, poverty and ill health are widespread. In the past these people treated their illnesses themselves with traditional medicines and prayers, and healthcare is often confused with superstition and the scaring away of ghosts! In many households the children have had to leave to find work in the city, and the elderly are left alone.
However, after two Health Education Projects sponsored by MSAVLC, the people now have the knowledge to look after themselves, and often go to the local health clinic for treatment. This helps not only them, but the health service too, as prevention is better, and cheaper, than cure. It has also made the young people in the district feel more responsible for their parents and grandparents. 14 out of 33 communes in the district have been covered by the training sessions so far. The turnout for the sessions has been excellent with about 80% of the elderly people in the communes attending.
MSAVLC has agreed to finance further Health Education Programmes in 7 more communes over the next two years.
2015 – UPDATE
This project has now been completed reaching all the remote communes in the Ky Anh district successfully. The elderly had all been instructed on healthy eating, alcohol consumption, smoking, fitness and general health care. They were encouraged to attend the Commune Health Clinics for health checks, and brochures with diagrams in had been handed out to remind people of what they had been taught.
We were impressed by the content of the project and its implementation.