News » Vietnam
6.2 million Vietnamese live with disabilities: national survey
  • | | January 12, 2019 06:12 AM

Around 6.2 million people are living with disabilities in Vietnam, accounting for two percent of the country's population, according to a national survey released on January 11 by the General Statistics Office.

Delegates at the ceremony to announce the survey on January 11

The survey which was carried out in two years of 2016 and 2017, is the first of its kind done on such a large scale using international tools, including one specially designed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Washington Group on Disability Statistics to examine child functioning.

According to the survey, 13 percent of the Vietnamese population, or close to 12 million people, lived in households with disabled members. The rate was forecast to rise in the context of an aging population.

Despite the fact that people with disabilities are subject to favourable health insurance policies, only 2.3 percent of them have access to rehabilitation services when sick or injured.

Findings from the survey show that households having members with disabilities tend to be poorer than the national average, and children with disabilities attend school less and adults with disabilities are less employed than their peers without disabilities.

School attendance rates for children with disabilities, particularly at higher levels of education, were also lower than that of able-bodied children. At the secondary level, below one third of children with disabilities went to school at the right age, compared to the proportion of two-thirds among able-bodied kids. Only two percent of primary and secondary schools in the country had been designed to accommodate the needs of pupils with disabilities, while only one seventh of all total schools have a teacher trained in teaching disabled students.

The survey highlighted that the most common type of impairment for children is psycho-social related. This is connected to the different development stages of childhood and adolescence, and such impairments can act as a significant barrier to children’s social inclusion.

Lesley Miller, acting chief representative of UNICEF in Vietnam, said the survey is important and timely as Vietnam has begun its implementation of the agenda for sustainable development goals (SDGs), which focuses on the principle of leaving no one behind.

"More needs to be done to make early identification, intervention and community-based rehabilitation services widely available and accessible, and to improve the provision of social services to children with disabilities, so that they can reach their full potential and fully participate in their communities and in wider society," she said.

UNICEF expects that the survey will help Vietnam meet the SDGs’ requirement on disability statistics and come up with suitable policies on social service and welfare for the disabled group, she noted.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Craig Chittick said the survey brings about information that could help calculate progress in ensuring the rights and interests of people with disabilities and their access to educational and health services.

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