News / Africa

    Cameroon Slowly Losing Tradition of Caring for Elderly at Home

    Societal changes are causing Cameroon to consider more care centers for the elderly as fewer people adhere to the tradition of "at-home" elder care for family members.

    Ndula Pascaline, of Yaounde's Bethanie Viacam center for old, invalid and abandoned persons, says it was once a social taboo in Cameroon for people to place their parents in assisted-living homes, but now, whether its because of a lack of funds or disinterest, more people are disregarding that tradition.

    Pascaline says as many youth head to cities to find work, they feel they are left with no option other than to leave their parents at home in villages or at care centers.

    She says another group of elderly that are often abandoned are those who are accused of practicing witchcraft.

    Needs of the elderly

    A 2013 study by the Central African Economic Commission and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights found that just 10 percent of Cameroonians have social insurance plans that help take care of them in their old age.

    Richard Ndi Tantoh, director of the nongovernmental organization Ecumenical Service for Peace, piloted the study. He says it is imperative for the government to take care of the needs of the elderly.

    "We are going to engage stakeholders with this study so that they see what exactly is happening with the elderly around Africa. So that at least we should begin to reflect on how we can set up a system which will be able to rehabilitate elderly persons," Tantoh said. "They are people who spent their lives working to build a country and I don’t think it is good for the country to abandon them when they are at old age."

    Still, some elderly say they are being abandoned by family members when they begin to succumb to health issues.

    Ngah Gisselle, 72, has been at Yaounde's Bethanie Viacam center for four years. She says she was abandoned by her family and two children who, according to cultural tradition, are supposed to take care of her.

    Gisselle says a kind stranger brought her to the center when she started suffering from chronic heart infections.

    When she recovered, she was told a Jesuit priest brought her to the center. She credits the center's care for her present health.

    Jobs elsewhere

    The center is home to 45 elderly people, including former teacher Jean Etoundi, 84, who says his daughter brought him to the center because her career -- a job in Cameroon's economic capital, Douala -- meant she could no longer live with and care for him.

    Etoundi, who is paralyzed, says his daughter sends money for his care.

    Some of the elderly in Cameroon say they never had sufficient means to prepare for retirement and old age, especially after Cameroon's currency suffered a 50 percent devaluation in 1994 and state workers saw their salaries cut by 60 percent.

    Social worker Mbiybe Rosaline says such conditions made it difficult for many people to prepare for retirement.

    "When they leave work and they go back to the village, they don't have what they need to take care of themselves, especially those who did not prepare towards their old age, Rosaline said. "So we are trying to see how we make a society that is inclusive, that will make everybody feel comfortable."

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora