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 British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid