Voices from the communities: Dinh Ngoc Ha from Vietnam

Voices from the communities: Dinh Ngoc Ha from Vietnam

Dinh Ngoc Ha, the Chairman of Ninh Binh Association of the Elderly, has been successfully leading the organisation for the past two years. Under his guidance, Ninh Binh has made significant progress, establishing a remarkable 93 Intergeneration Self-Help Clubs (ISHCs) to date. Among these, 25 ISHCs have greatly benefited from the SUNI-SEA project, which focuses on enhancing healthcare for older persons. The chairman and his team have shown immense dedication by actively engaging in discussions and coordination with the health sector to ensure the success of this initiative.

Recognising the value of a synergy model between Association of the Elderly, the health sector, and ISHCs, Dinh Ngoc Ha signed a collaboration programme with the Department of Health (DoH) in August 2022, specifically addressing healthcare for older persons. As a result of this collaborative effort, the relationship between all sectors has significantly improved.

Initially, understanding the complexities of the programme presented challenges, but the team persevered and focused on strengthening awareness from the central to the grassroots level through comprehensive advocacy messages. Despite limited facilities and equipment at commune health stations, Dinh Ngoc Ha’s commitment to the cause remained unwavering. The shortage of health staff further complicated matters, but the chairman and his team consistently sought solutions to overcome these obstacles.

“The SUNI-SEA project aligns with the province’s policy” Dinh Ngoc Ha said. “The 25 ISHCs participating in the project serve as models for replication across the province”. He emphasised the importance of sustaining project activities even after its conclusion to ensure the long-term success of the implemented strategies.

In Ninh Binh, the ISHCs are regarded as an “extended arm” of the health sector, particularly in managing hypertension and diabetes. Dinh Ngoc Ha’s vision and leadership have played a crucial role in driving the development and success of the ISHCs, making them vital components of the province’s healthcare system.