August 14, 2018 4:40 pm

The Department of Social Welfare of the Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection organised a National Consultative Meeting with all relevant Stakeholders on the Bill for Aged Persons in Korofidua on Tuesday 14th August, 2018.

The meeting aimed at soliciting inputs in the bid of finalising the draft Aged Persons’ Bill for presentation to Cabinet for approval and then lay it in Parliament for it to be passed into law.

Speaking at the workshop the sector minister Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba stated that several consultations have been conducted by the National Advisory Committee (NAC) and was imperative to present the draft to relevant stakeholders and the various associations of the elderly to ensure that their views are incorporated into the bill.

According to the sector Minister, old age was not easy as it was fraught with ill health, inactivity, irrelevance, and the inability to do things when one is younger. “Old age is inevitable and therefore issues affecting older persons must be of outmost importance to all of us. It is the weakest that needs our support and this day is to ensure that we protect our aged”, she stressed.

Hon. Otiko Djaba explained that the contribution of the elderly in the Ghanaian society cannot be underestimated; they are fountains of knowledge, wisdom and profound experience. She noted that the aged are vital role models who still impart knowledge, advice, skills and act as a support mechanism in the extended family.

Through the implementation of this bill the ministry is ensuring that the aged in society is made to be practiceable and participate in their communities and in national development, the Hon. Minister disclosed.

Furthermore, Hon. Otiko Djaba reiterated that treating older folks badly especially the old ladies, accusing them of witchcraft, driving them out of their communities, to the extent of burning some of them as well as treating widows bad are some of the challenges that the government would work against to curb some of this marginalization against the aged by implementing the National Ageing Policy and passing the Ageing Bill into Law.

This bill, she said, is to integrate the rights and needs of older persons into national policies which focus on three spheres which are: the older person and development, advancing health and well-being into old age and ensuring and enabling environment for the elderly. This is our opportunity to right the wrongs and misconceptions against the aged, she emphasised.

The Executive Secretary for IMCC, Mr. Salifu Mahama added that “global demographics has shown that almost every country proportion of older persons keeps increasing, and it will be unfortunate for the Ghanaian society to miss out on this opportunity to enact the Aged Persons Bill into Law….”. Therefore, he pledged his commitment on behalf of his organisation to collaborate with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to take a decision that would benefit the elderly in Ghana for years to come.

“The Coordinating Programme and Social Development Policies recognise that amongst the key challenges to development policy, is poor implementation of interventions aimed at the aged, weak institutional care for the aged, and inadequate funding to support the implementation of intervention. Hence, we fully support the government’s vision as captured in the Coordinated Program of Economic and Social Development Policies to create a society in which everyone can love later life and living longer is a cause for celebration”, He said.

The main objective of The Aged Persons’ bill includes:

  • To ensure the full enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, and civil and political rights of persons and the elimination of all forms of violence and discrimination against older persons,
  • To ensure commitment to gender equality among older persons through, inter alia, gender based discrimination,
  • To recognize the cultural importance of families, intergenerational interdependence, solidarity and reciprocity for social development,
  • To provide health care, support and social protection for older persons including preventive and rehabilitation health care,
  • To facilitate partnership between all levels of government, civil society, and private sector and older persons themselves in translating the international Plan of Action into practical action,
  • To harness scientific research, expertise and potential of technology to address individual and social health implications of ageing, and empower older persons to effectively participate in making decisions that directly affects them.