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

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    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.

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora