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NURS1003 Imagining Health In Social And Cultural Contexts

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1. How have major events in the country’s history (e.g. natural disasters, political change, conflict) impacted the current situation? Has the country worked on this issue over time?

2. How has culture influenced the issue? What are local beliefs and practices on this issue (e.g, religion, gender)?
3. Which structural factors are most influencing this issue (e.g., trade sanctions, provision or access to services such as health, education, transport)?




Poverty is one of the biggest challenges for humankind, which has several forms, degrees, times and situation. As per the statement of The World Bank, poverty is not just having a scarcity of money, but also associated with lack of food, shelter, inability to read, not having access to quality healthcare and living life depending on the survival of each day. Poverty is a condition, which varies with changes in time and place, for example living in a poor condition in Canada is not similar to living in poverty in India, therefore, time and place is a major concern for people struggling with poverty (Bass & Dalal-Clayton, 2012). Therefore, poverty is one of the most important goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Despite the fact that within 1990 to 2015, more than half of the poverty has already been eradicated, still, 800 million people around the world live on less than US$1.25 a day and are unable to access food, shelter and quality healthcare (Huu, 2015).

Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country, which is located in the east of Cambodia and Laos and south of China. This country has a population of 90 million in which, 35% of the current population lives in urban areas of the country whereas, 87% of the population are known as ethnic Viet living in underdeveloped or rural areas of the country (Carley & Christie, 2017). 54 minority groups are also there that take up the remainder 13% of the population (Huu, 2015). Studies have revealed the poverty-related timeline for Vietnam and has mentioned since the Vietnam War, the population is suffering from poverty (Malik, 2013). However, since then the government has taken several steps to eradicate poverty and maintain equity within the country (Reeds, 2013). However, as per the strategies used by the UN to measure poverty within Vietnam, the World Bank has mentioned that there is still 30% population, who are suffering from extreme poverty and it affects primarily the health status of the population around the country (Sachs, 2015).

Therefore, the government of Vietnam has adopted a series of social economic and environmental factors that helped in the implementation of policies, which are important for sustainable development of Vietnam and eradicating poverty (Bhattacharyya, 2012). Therefore, a primary aim of this assignment will be determining the strategies and techniques using which the government of Vietnam will be able to implement the sustainable developmental goals against poverty and will eradicate it by 2030.

Thesis statement: the Vietnamese government is likely to eradicate extreme poverty by application of SDGs by 2030.

Historical factors

Vietnam is the country, which has faced several unfavourable events, and the influence of the western society has affected the social, economic and environmental development since the age of World War II. After the victory of World, war II the Ho Chi Minh government declared the state as independent, , due to the war and aftereffects, poverty started prevailing deep into the society (McKay & Deshingkar, 2014). The government was unable to provide evenly distributed available resources to the countrymen due to which, the country becomes dependent on the financial aids from the western countries. There are several instances when the government tried to revive the economy of the country and one such development in economic front of Vietnam was observed in the year 1975 when the Vietnam War ended and different social development policies were imposed on the Vietnamese policies (Malik, 2013). Further, one such development was also witnessed in the Doi Moi process which commenced in 1986 and due to which the country witnessed a gross domestic product average of 7.5 (Carley & Christie, 2017). The positive effect of this process was a sharp reduction in the poverty rate from 58% in 1993 to 13% in the year 2003 (Drucker, 2017). However, similar to the world trends, poverty in Vietnam is concentrated among the ethnic group of the country and they are derived from the food, shelter, educational and healthcare related fundamental needs (Berger, 2017). It should also be mentioned that despite the several actions, fifty per cent of the population is still living on the US $2 every day and hence, specific strategies should be implemented to eradicate such poverty within 2030 (Naples, 2014).


Cultural factor

Culture is an important aspect of any population as it helps to provide the observer with an idea about the thoughts, believes and lifestyle of the community (Hinton, 2016). While discussing the culture of Vietnam, it should be mentioned that the traditional Vietnamese culture is concentrated into 15% of the ethnic group living in the country, which contributed in 70% of the extreme poverty level (Carley & Christie, 2017). This community has also improved their condition in the two-decade-long governmental policy changes and GDP growth, however, their development was not equal to those of the major community (Nguyen-Vo, 2012). While collecting facts about Vietnamese culture it was found that people are always humble and obedient to the superior in the society and this could be one of the reasons for their deprived and exploited state (Dang, 2012). Further, this community also suffered from low level of education, low level of migration, limited access to quality healthcare and land, social as well as geographical isolation, thus, the culture of this extremely poor community became stagnant and limited, leading to the prevalence of poverty in the society. Therefore, it is the duty of the government to implement changes in the cultural aspect so that social inclusion could lead to economic inclusion in the society (Kang & Imai, 2012).

Structural factor

There are several structural changes that the country went through in the timeline that contributed to the development of poverty within the country. While analyzing the short term and long term policy goals country, it was observed that during the communist victory in the year 1975, the economic and political policies of the country changed completely (Agarwal & Whalley, 2015). The healthcare facilities around the country were asked to train medical staff and nursing professionals within 3 months as there were thousands of war victims that required quick medical treatment. This way the structure of the medical standards ruptured completely and hence, the standards were deteriorated. Another study by Hoang, Pham and Uluba?o?lu (2014) mentioned that during the period of communist government, the economy of the country was destroyed and the country became bankrupt in the year 1986. Due to which, several national and international organizations pushed the government to implement major policy related renovations such as the Doi Moi transition and other factors that changed the structure of Vietnam’s economy completely and transferred the economy from socioeconomic economy to a market-oriented economy. This helps in the increment in the strength of the economy and created several job opportunities by making openings in tourism and agricultural sectors (Agarwal & Whalley, 2015). Through this transition, the private organization and their actions become legal and flexibility in the business and its actions were created. Further, due to such renovations, Vietnam becomes the third largest country in rice exports. Therefore, such structural changes are required in making the country free from poverty and hence, these factors should be kept in mind while analyzing the poverty concern in Vietnam (Nguyen-Vo, 2012).

Critical analysis

The Vietnamese government has already taken steps in making the country free from poverty and in this aspect the government has implemented the ‘sustainable developmental goals by the United Nations’ (Nguyen-Vo, 2012). These goals are targeted towards the eradication of poverty and focus on three main aspects such as the structural factor, cultural factor and historical factor to implement these goals in maintaining or changing policies.  As per Khan and Salman (2012), the transition from socio-economic economy to the market-oriented economy helped the government to create huge amount of opportunities for employment for the population and hence, eradication of poverty becomes easier as the economy of the country started progressing. Further, with the stable economy, people got job security that helped them to achieve their fundamental needs appropriately such as education, good food, and quality healthcare. Kotir et al. (2016) mentioned that though this strategy and transition, the country was able to witness a decrease in the poverty rate by 4% every year and hence, the steep decrease in the poverty was observed over these years in Vietnam.  This rate of poverty eradication was double than several developed Asian countries and hence, it increases the hope and belief of the country that it will be able to eradicate poverty from its soil in near future (Hinton, 2016). However, the primary barrier in this aspect is the dominance of rural areas in the poverty rate as 70 per cent of the community living with extreme poverty were habited in the rural areas (Nguyen-Vo, 2012). Hence, the government used the SDGs to set a goal as per which the country is expected to increase its urban population by 50% within 2045 (Drucker, 2017). Further, the country should understand its strengths and weaknesses and invest in the areas, using which it can eradicate poverty completely. One such aspect is agriculture as it helped to save Vietnam and its economy in 1986 and helped the country to become the third largest exporter of rice in the world (Nguyen-Vo, 2012). Other areas such as wood processing, furniture creation and others should also be exploited so that the economy of the country can be improved and poverty can be eradicated as these areas help to create employment in the country (Berger, 2017).


Poverty is a major concern not only for Vietnam and its economy but also for the world economic development. Due to this, the United Nations developed a sustainable development goal which targets to eradicate poverty in 2030. The government of Vietnam also went through several functional and policy-related changes that made the economy improve from bankruptcy and made this the third largest exporter of rice in the world. However, it requires a proper strategies assistance as more than 40 per cent of the population is still suffering from poverty and to achieve ultimate eradication, their upliftment is necessary.



Agarwal, M., & Whalley, J. (2015). The 1991 reforms, Indian economic growth, and social progress. In WORLD SCIENTIFIC REFERENCE ON ASIA AND THE WORLD ECONOMY (pp. 3-22). DOI

Bass, S., & Dalal-Clayton, B. (2012). Sustainable development strategies: a resource book. Routledge.

Berger, P. L. (2017). The desecularization of the world: A global overview. In The New Sociology of Knowledge (pp. 61-76). Routledge.

Bhattacharyya, S. C. (2012). Energy access programmes and sustainable development: A critical review and analysis. Energy for sustainable development, 16(3), 260-271. DOI:

Carley, M., & Christie, I. (2017). Managing sustainable development. Routledge.

Dang, H. A. (2012). Vietnam: A widening poverty gap for ethnic minorities. DOI:

Drucker, P. (2017). The age of discontinuity: Guidelines to our changing society. Routledge.

Hinton, E. (2016). From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime. Harvard University Press.

Hoang, T. X., Pham, C. S., & Uluba?o?lu, M. A. (2014). Non-farm activity, household expenditure, and poverty reduction in rural Vietnam: 2002–2008. World Development, 64, 554-568. DOI:

Huu, T. P. (2015). Dilemmas of hydropower development in Vietnam: between dam-induced displacement and sustainable development. Eburon Uitgeverij BV.

Kang, W., & Imai, K. S. (2012). Pro-poor growth, poverty and inequality in rural Vietnam. Journal of Asian Economics, 23(5), 527-539. DOI:

Khan, F. A., & Salman, A. (2012). A simple human vulnerability index to climate change hazards for Pakistan. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, 3(3), 163-176. DOI:

Kotir, J. H., Smith, C., Brown, G., Marshall, N., & Johnstone, R. (2016). A system dynamics simulation model for sustainable water resources management and agricultural development in the Volta River Basin, Ghana. Science of the Total Environment, 573, 444-457. DOI;

Malik, M. (2013). Historical Fiction: China's South China Sea Claims. World Affairs, 176(1), 83-90.

McKay, A., & Deshingkar, P. (2014). Internal remittances and poverty: Further evidence from Africa and Asia. Migrating out of Poverty Working Paper, 12.

Naples, N. A. (2014). Grassroots warriors: Activist mothering, community work, and the war on poverty. Routledge.

Nguyen-Vo, T. H. (2012). The ironies of freedom: Sex, culture, and neoliberal governance in Vietnam. University of Washington Press.

Reed, D. (2013). Structural adjustment, the environment and sustainable development. Routledge.

Sachs, J. D. (2015). The age of sustainable development. Columbia University Press.


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