Shein: Devise programme to address elders’ challenges 

RETIRED Isles President, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein has underscored the need for the government to come up with a programme that addresses challenges facing the elderly in the country.

He also called for allocating special places where elders can meet and socialise.

He gave the advice here yesterday, when opening experts’ workshop on elderly and the best practice to address their challenges organised by HelpAge International in collaboration with Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation.

“Being an older person is a situation which no one can skip, if he/she is blessed with so many years on earth, we have to ensure their challenges are addressed and have in place sustainable social protection programmes,” said Dr Shein.

He said in most African nations, the elders are wisdom banks to rely on, thus they must be provided with a safe space, where they can congregate and socialise, as well as access health services and psychosocial support.

Dr Shein said the programme will among others provide elders with essential items to improve their wellbeing, and in case they have mobility difficulties, be provided transportation to reach the social services.

He said the government can come up with a modality to take care of the elders, while being aligned with the country’s traditions, norms and culture since being an older person is a respect to the community.

The retired Zanzibar President said the elderly need to be given opportunities to make their age healthy and happy. However, he said to attain the goals, the public needs to have positive thinking on the elderly, insisting that their actions towards them must change for the better.

“There are negative notions on elderly especially among the youth who must now be assisted by sensitising them so that they change their mindset  towards this important group. Households and communities must not look at the elderly as a burden but rather a blessing and banks of wisdom” he insisted.

For his part, Chairman of the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation, Joseph Butiku said the workshop is intended to draw attention among the public and government on the need to have programmes and strategies to take care of the elderly.

Presenting a paper during the workshop, Chairperson of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) dealing with people with older age, Ms Clotilda Kokupima advised the government to come up with a programme of offering pension to the elderly as it is the case in Zanzibar.

Moreover, he said the free health service for older people should be universal.

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