NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Millions of elderly persons in Africa
are set to benefit from a project launched in Nairobi on
Wednesday to ensure they have access to quality and affordable
health care services.
The Better Health for Older
Persons in Africa (BHOPA) project that is funded by global
charity HelpAge International will be implemented in Kenya and
Mozambique in the next three years.
"We aim to make health systems more inclusive, responsive and
accountable to the needs of older men and women, with a
particular focus on those with chronic diseases and
disabilities," said Jude Otogo, regional health program
coordinator of HelpAge International.
He said the launch of a pan African initiative to boost
health of senior citizens was timely as the continent grapple
with pressures on healthcare infrastructure and social safety
net linked to ageing.
"We hope the project will generate robust evidence in order
to support advocacy, shape policies and inform program
"These will inform scale up and replication not just in the
countries of implementation but also in Africa and globally,"
Statistics from the UN Department of Social and Economic
Affairs indicate that there were 46 million people aged 60 years
and over in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015 and the figure could hit
161 million by 2050.
Policy makers and advocates said that home-grown
interventions are key to ensuring elderly people in Africa are
not excluded from national health programs.
Susan Mutungi, deputy director in Kenya’s ministry of labor
and social development, said that robust policies are key to
addressing gaps in delivery of health care services to the aged
"The launch of Better Health for Older Persons in Africa
project provides an impetus for us to realign national health
policies and help meet needs of the elderly people who carry a
heavy burden of diseases as well as physical and emotional
infirmities," said Mutungi.
Muthoni Gichu, officer in Kenya’s ministry of health, said
that investments in training of health care workers coupled with
home based care is key to tackle non-communicable diseases that
have taken a toll on the elderly people in Sub-Saharan Africa.