Organising health screening for hypertension and diabetes risk factors for community members at the Intergenerational Self-Help Clubs (ISHCs) is one of the important activities and indicators of the SUNI-SEA project.
After participating in training courses organised by HelpAge team in Vietnam, in collaboration with the Vietnam Association of the Elderly (VAE), all ISHCs involved in the project have successfully organised the first screening event in their community, which took place during the first six months of 2022, reaching nearly 90 per cent of their members. This activity achieved active participation from not only club members but also non-club members in the community.
“The members were highly enthusiastic”, shared Ms Ngo Thi Nhe, chairperson of My Loc 1 ISHC in Tien Thang Commune, Tien Lang District, Hai Phong city.
“Everyone wanted to get checked to know their health status, and with the great support from the Commune Health Station (CHS), I only had to inform them about the screening activity, and they came right away. After hearing about this activity, many community members wanted to join the club to be screened and receive health information from the ISHC.”
Every year My Loc 1 ISHC works with the Commune Association of the Elderly (AE) and CHS to provide general check-ups for all club members and those who were diagnosed with symptoms received proper treatment from CHS free of charge. The health staff encouraged all members to attend the check-up. In case a member is diagnosed with diseases and needs to be referred to District Health Center or hospital, the CHS also facilitated the referrals.
The Head of the Tien Thang CHS, Ms. Pham Thi Nhung, commented on the ISHC’s health care activities: “I found the activities of the ISHC very useful. ISHC is an “extension arm” of CHS that helps to provide primary health care for the locals. CHS has a very close relationship with the Commune AE and ISHCs. Before the SUNI-SEA Project, we regularly coordinated to support the club’s activities. As a member of My Loc 1 village, I participated as a club member and supported the Club Management Board in all activities. Even though our work is relatively hectic, and we have a limited number of staffs, we will continue to maintain the cooperation and support for ISHCs even after the project ends.”
The president of the Tien Thang Commune AE, Mr Nguyen Quang Giang, stated: “Whenever there are any project activities, I constantly go to the CHS to meet Ms Nhung and discuss. The Commune AE and the CHS join and support the ISHCs’ activities with great enthusiasm, notably the screenings for ISHC members. In general, members were very happy to receive the health screening. ISHCs were accompanied by CHSs and Commune AE at all training sessions conducted by HelpAge in Vietnam and VAE. The ISHC model and its initiatives greatly strengthen movements and solidarity in the community. We will work to preserve and expand the ISHCs activities in accordance to the national strategies issued by the Prime Minister in order to help raise the quality of life and health for both older people and the community in general.”
To enhance the medical examination and treatment experience, especially for diabetes and hypertension diagnosis and treatment at the CHS, additional health care staff, medical equipment and essential medicines are very much needed. Provision of efficient referral services will also contribute to a better health care scheme. It is clear that investing more on health care activities, education and access to early treatment at the local level can help reduce the burden for the country’s health care system in the long run.