News / Africa

Over 76 Million Older People Lack Vital Care

HelpAge International says universal healthcare needed for millions of older people around the world. Credit: HelpAge
HelpAge International says universal healthcare needed for millions of older people around the world. Credit: HelpAge

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to DeCapua report on healthcare for the ageing

Joe DeCapua
Monday, April 7th, is World Health Day. An NGO is using the occasion to warn that 76-million older people around the world are being excluded from vital health care. HelpAge International is trying to raise awareness through its Age Demands Action campaign.
 
Amleset Tewodros, the group’s Country Director for Tanzania, said, “Age Demands Action is a campaign that empowers older people to directly engage with their leaders – in this particular case with the Ministry of Health officials – to demand the access to services, the health services, to be appropriate, age friendly, accessible to older people. So it gives older people an opportunity to present their demands and their requests to their relative policy and decision makers.”
 
She said millions of older people around the world are not getting the care they need for diseases and chronic conditions.
 
“There are a number of noncommunicable diseases that are showing steady growth among older population groups -- for example, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, prostate cancer and respiratory diseases.”

Amleset said that the current emphasis in healthcare is on communicable and childhood diseases. She says healthcare programs usually do not have a lifelong healthy aging approach. Lack of respect and discrimination can also be barriers to adequate health care for older people.
 
“Old age is associated with diseases,” she said, “So older people are not treated for the illnesses they present, but rather they’re looked at – Oh, you are old and resources are limited. Those should be directed to young people, to children. So, these are some of the constraints that are limiting older people’s access.”
 
In many developing countries, Amleset said, the emphasis is on building infrastructure and hospital admissions, which can be expensive. As a result, she said, less attention is paid to health promotion and prevention, especially for age-related diseases and conditions. What’s more, many healthcare workers may not be adequately trained to help older patients.
 
The HelpAge International official said universal healthcare would help solve many of these problems.
 
“Universal healthcare would help in the sense that it will provide equity in terms of access to healthcare for all population groups. If healthcare has to be paid for, a lot of these people who lack funds to pay for consultation, who lack funds for transport, who lack funds for paying for the cost of drugs are constrained by their inability to benefit or to access basic healthcare, which is fundamental for their survival.”
 
Amleset said that political will can overcome concerns about cost.
 
“We have experiences in a number of countries where we have seen positive progress, which did not require a huge investment. It is an issue of commitment and policy adjustment – making sure health policymakers, programmers do take into account the specific needs – the unique needs – of older population groups and provide appropriate, affordable and accessible healthcare. That is the message,” she said.
 
HelpAge International also warned the life expectancy in nearly 40 countries is either remaining static at 60 or has fallen. It said community healthcare is vital to ensure older people maintain a good quality of life.”

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dr. Limle from: USA
April 08, 2014 3:13 PM
ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

Small businesses will soon feel the vice-grip of Obamacare forcing them to pay hefty insurance costs, or cut workers hours. Meanwhile huge corporations are exempt from the “law” thanks to their lobbying power.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More