Policy to protect the elderly on cards

Levi Mukarati Assignments Editor |  2 months ago | local

Government in conjuction with the World Health Organisation (WHO) is working on a policy to further protect older persons against abuse, violence and ill treatment at all levels.

In a message to mark international day of older persons today, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said the envisaged document seeks to push relevant stakeholders to further enhance social security for the group.

He added that lack of income has led to the deterioration of health and mental stability among the elderly.

"Older persons in Zimbabwe constitute a group that needs special protection as enshrined in the United Nations Principles for older persons which recognizes that older persons have a right to independence, participation, to be cared for, self-fulfillment and to live in dignity," he said.

" For this reason, it is imperative for the African Union protocol on Human Rights and the Rights of Older Persons to be signed and ratified in Zimbabwe to enable achievement of the leave no one behind mantra.  

"A policy on ageing is on the cards, with the Older Persons Board under the leadership of the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare partnering with WHO, working on the policy document.

"It is through such initiatives that the lives of older persons will certainly drift towards self-independence, they will be able to participate in the community development, their children will not feel burdened by caring for them and they will regain their dignity."

Professor Mavima, however, said Government places the rights of the elderly high and has established an Older Persons Board to coordinate activities to improve the welfare of this group.

He added that the law also provide free medical care for for older persons in all public medical health institutions.

"Zimbabwe places older persons rights highly and has recognized them in the Constitution Section 21 and 82 and through the enactment of the Older Persons Act," said Prof Mavima

"Oher policies that protect and cater for the rights of older persons are also found in different Government Ministries like the provision of health services for the 65 years and above. 

"Government is allocating resources for per capita grants paid out to long term care homes every month upon request."

Professor Mavima noted that changes in lifestyles has resulted in some children abandoning their responsibilities to look after the elderly while on the other hand, old people lose wealth through educating their children or orphaned grandchildren.

He added that government acknowledges that HIV and Aids has remained alive in Zimbabwe and older persons bear the brunt as they have become carers of the sick and orphans

Professor Mavima said numerous disasters such as a recent Covid 19 pandemic have hit the world including Zimbabwe leaving older persons more vulnerable than before. 

The World Day of Older Persons is being marked under the theme: Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World