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Official launch of S-Health - Moblie app for Health Care of Older Persons

Hanoi, 29 September 2021: The first-ever Mobile App named “S-Health” to provide free-of-charge health care information and services to older persons, their caregivers and family members is now officially functioned after 8 months of a beta test. This reliable and easy-to-use application meets the increasing care needs and ensures digital inclusion of older persons.

The United Nations for Population Fund (UNFPA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health today official launched the S-Health mobile app, providing a new tele-health platform designed particularly for older persons, one of the most vulnerable population groups in society, especially in humanitarian and emergency situations.

The S-Health app has been upgraded by the Ministry of Health with technical support from UNFPA Vietnam and financial support from the Government of Japan. The app is designed as a user-friendly platform for everyone to find information on health in general and health care for older persons in particular.

As the first ever tele-health tool for older persons, the S-Health provides updated information on common diseases in older persons, knowledge on how to maintain good and relevant nutrition for older persons, and experience on how to take care of older persons. The app also includes a function for older persons to monitor their daily health indicators with an additional upgrade to manage personal schedules for taking medicine or health check-ups.

To ensure the access of older persons, the app has been upgraded to allow family members to connect with each other. In doing so, family members could help older persons in accessing and using the app, sharing health information and managing health status from afar. The SOS button in the app will automatically send the GPS location of older persons to their family members in emergency situations.

The app also connects family doctor networks and nursing homes to better provide care for older persons, in both normal and emergency situations to ensure that “no one is left behind”. The S-health has been designed to be age-friendly in terms of contrast and colours, and easy to use for older people.

COVID-19 has had devastating effects on older people and put a spotlight on the health and rights of older persons in society. 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. The fatality rate for older people is higher, and for those above age 80, it is five times higher than the global average.

The current COVID-19 complex situation in HCMC and many other provinces experienced the struggle of older persons and their family members in protection the health of older persons and those with underlying health situation. The need for uninterrupted health and care support becomes even more critical than ever. In this context, S-Health app plays an important role.

Ms. Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative for Vietnam opened the official launch of S-Health highlighting that to date, having a health-care mobile app is an indispensable solution for tele-health. She said: “We believe that together with the S-Health app, many more innovations with digital technologies will be developed, thus offering a great hope for accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals in Vietnam. UNFPA commits to continuing its supports to the development and application of digital technologies to protect the most vulnerable population groups, including women and girls, young and older persons.”

Globally, the internet usage of older persons, especially the young old (60-69 years old) has increased significantly since COVID-19 outbreak (according to Ericsson’s Report 2021). More than 80% of those 60-69 years old are using internet in 2020 as compared to 62% in 2015. According to the 2019 Vietnam National Ageing Survey, 93% of older persons in rural areas and 97% in urban areas have cell phones; and about 4 out of 10 old persons have smartphone.

Globally, in 2019, there were 703 million persons aged 65 and above. It is projected that the number is doubled in the next three decades, reaching more than 1.5 billion persons in 2050. Vietnam is one of the most rapidly ageing countries in the world. It is projected that by 2036, Vietnam will become an “aged” country and the number of older people aged 60 and above will reach 21.3 million people, almost one fifth of the total population. Both population ageing and digitalization are part of the world’s Mega Trends which we all have to respond to.

 

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For further information, please contact:

Ms. Dinh Thu Huong, UNFPA Communications Officer

Email:  dhuong@unfpa.org

Phone: 0913 301 539