Ghana gov’t to present bill on National Ageing Policy to Parliament

Mr Moses Asaga, Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, on Monday said government would in 2013 present a bill to Parliament on the National Ageing Policy to legalize the establishment of the National Council on Ageing.

He explained that the policy when passed into law would ensure the implementation of recommendations and coordination of government activities related to the elderly in a more organized approach.

Mr Asaga said this at a mini-durbar organised by the HelpAge Ghana in collaboration with the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare to mark the celebration of International Day for the older persons which falls on October 1.

According to Mr Asaga, the Ministry was planning towards the development and implementation of a pilot social pension scheme for the older persons without formal social security in 2013 and would be done side by side with the strengthening of existing social security schemes to provide income security for the older persons.

The Ministry would organise sensitization programme and training workshops for District Assembly and the Ghana Health Service officers in 2013 to enable them understand the issues and adequately empower them to mainstream ageing into their planning processes.

He said the Ministry is currently engaging the Ghana Health Service to mainstream geriatric services into the Health Delivery System especially at the community level to integrate nutritional needs of the elderly into the programme.

Mr Asaga said information from the Ghana Statistical Service showed that life expectancy at birth had increased to 60.7 years for males and 61.8 years for females and that life expectancy at the age of 60 had been estimated at 17.03 for males and 19.49 years for females.

He said the information indicated that persons in the country were expected to live up to 77.03 years adding that the 2010 Census results indicated that the population of persons 60 years and above had increased to 1,643,978 representing 6.7 per cent of the total population.

A message read on behalf of Ban Ki Moom, United Nations Secretary General, said rapid population ageing and increase in human longevity worldwide represented one of the greatest social, economic and political transformations of the time.

He said the demographic changes would affect every community, family or person and demanded that governments should rethink and re-invent how individuals lived, worked, planned and learnt throughout their lifetimes.

Professor Joseph Asare Bediako, Member of Board of Directors, HelpAge Ghana, said Article 37 of the Constitution stated that the state should enact laws to assure the protection and promotion of basic human rights and freedoms including the rights of the disabled, the aged, children and other vulnerable groups.

As part of the celebrations, there was brass band procession of older persons through some principal streets of Osu in Accra and a five member delegation of HelpAge Ghana meeting with the Mr Antwi-Boasiako Sekyere Deputy-Minister of Employment and social Welfare.

Mrs Juana Badu, Board Treasurer of HelpAge Ghana, on behalf of the delegation, presented a petition to the Minister expressing appreciation to government for launching the National Ageing Policy and called for its amendment and implementation.

Source: GNA

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