Volume 6(2019)

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Most of the poor households in this survey can access basic public services, such as electricity and a water supply, although some, particularly in the peri-urban districts, are not directly connected to the electricity network and access their water from wells or bought safe water. Garbage is well collected in the central districts, but in the peri-urban districts, waste was reported as largely dumped in open spaces. Children in poor households are well supported in accessing the public education system, although the cost of schooling was considered quite expensive for their family. Medical treatment is a burden, although the health insurance is freely provided to the poor and near-poor households. Most of the surveyed households use a motorbike for travelling, although many rely on buses to commute to common places, such as markets, hospitals and the Ward and District People Committees.

Various poverty policies have been designed to provide support to households to move out of poverty. Several of these policies, however, are not effective because they provide too little support, do not meet the needs of the poor households or are not publicized sufficiently for the people who need them to hear about them. In general, poor households have benefitted from the country’s rapid economic growth, particularly the dynamic market in Ho Chi Minh City, rather than the poverty policies. The poverty policies have also enabled poor households’ dependent attitudes towards government support.

In the context of Ho Chi Minh City, most people, including the migrants, benefit from the economic development taking place. Thus, the poverty-reduction policies can be reduced. The local government budget for poverty reduction should target support for people who are disadvantaged due to age, disability or chronic illness. Migrants should be supported in accessing basic services equally with other citizens. In this sense, the Ho Khau, or permanent residence registration, should be reconsidered so that it does not deter anyone from accessing the city’s public services. Although the adoption of the multidimensional poverty is a positive approach, its effective implementation requires a more sensible arrangement of personnel and tasks (structural organization) and a sufficient budget.

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