Mr Ebo Barton-Odro Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, on Thursday congratulated the aged in Ghana for playing their respective roles in the development of country.
He said this on the floor of Parliament in a statement to commemorate the Republic Day (July 1 2011), which is normally dedicated to the aged across the country.
Mr Barton–Odro said Ghana must fashion out an aged policy to meet the problems associated with the increased number of older persons.
“The world is ageing” he said and added: “With the people living longer and fewer children being born the absolute number of older people is increasing.”
He said there were about 600 million of persons aged 60 and over and indicated that research had shown that this total would double by 2025 and would virtually reach two billion by 2050.
He noted that the vast majority of older persons would be living in developing countries, which were often least prepared to meet the challenges of the rapid ageing societies.
It is estimated that the number of people, who are 60 years and above in the country since 1970 and 2000 census, had tripled and continue to grow, adding that older people by this standard were becoming demographic force to reckon with in Ghana.
Increased longevity is a triumph for public health and the result of social and economic development, but stated that the rapidity of population ageing was expected to continue to outpace social and economic development in developing countries.
He said age normally come with increased risk of developing chronic diseases and disability and needed help that was most often provided by families already stretched for time and resources.
He said health systems in the country must address the consequences of these demographic trends.
“Many chronic diseases and the associated disabilities that affect the later part of a person’s life-span along with their economic and human costs can be prevented,” he said
Prevention, he noted, required reaching the individual at the point of need before the disease took hold of him or her and that means intervening at the community level.
Mr Barton-Odro said by promoting active and healthy ageing, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) must improve on education and training of health care providers to access and treat conditions that afflict older persons and empower them to remain healthy.
He said the GHS should adapt primary health care management to the needs of older persons and make physical access easier for older persons who might have mobility, vision or hearing impairments.