Mwinyi commits to improve elderly’s social service delivery

ZANZIBAR: ZANZIBAR President Dr Hussein Mwinyi has reiterated government’s commitment to improve social service delivery for the elderly.

He highlighted the provision of special identification for easy recognition as among efforts by the government to prioritise the elders in delivery of social services.

Dr Mwinyi said this in his speech to officiate ‘International Day of Older Persons (IDOPs)’ marked at the Dr Ali Mohamed Shein Multipurpose Hall, at the premises of the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA), Tunguu area in Unguja South region.

In the speech read on his behalf by the Zanzibar First Vice-President Othman Masoud Othman, he said that the target is to reach more than 28,000 elders at the age of 70 and above who have been also enrolled for the Universal Pension Scheme (UPS) which started in 2016.

“The elderly with the IDs will have to be given priority for services in public health, public transport, entrance to areas requiring an ID and also deserving special treatment in the society,” he said.

Early this year, President Mwinyi increased monthly payment to elders from 20,000/- to 50,000/- and also raised retired workers pensions, improving care service for the senior citizens in government care centres. There are about 63 elders in care homes in Unguja and Pemba.

He also said that the government deliberately enacted the Elderly Affairs Act of 2020 to protect and serve the older people in Zanzibar including the provision of the Universal pension.

This year’s theme for the 2023 commemoration of International Older Persons Day is “Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World,” while the UNIDOP theme is “Fulfilling the Promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons: Across Generations.”

Dr Mwinyi instructed executives handling the issue of pensions to increase cooperation to ensure that the goal is achieved and overcome all the challenges facing the elders.

The Ministry of Social Development, Elderly, Gender and Children in collaboration with regional administration have been setting up ‘Elders Councils,’ at grassroot level to ensure all elders are reached.

Minister of the docket Ms Riziki Pembe Juma said that they will continue serving senior citizens.

One of the elderly Mzee Issa Kidari, on behalf of his colleagues thanked the government and President Mwinyi for the ongoing efforts to protect their rights.

However, he called on the government to help resolve the pending challenges such as mindset change of service providers in hospitals.

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