Government considers new law to protect aged

The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisah Djaba, has disclosed that her ministry is preparing a draft bill that is expected to be passed into law soon, which is aimed at supporting senior citizens in the country.

“The ministry is currently working on a draft bill that will be presented to Cabinet for approval and subsequently laid in this august house to be passed into law to take care of the needs of the aged,” she told Parliament in a statement she presented to mark the celebration of senior citizens.

According to her, 25,000 Eban Welfare cards have been issued in all ten regions to facilitate easy access to public social services by elderly people.

She also announced that plans are underway to introduce ‘Freedom Pass’ for the aged, to help them gain priority access to social services by service providers such as banks, transport operators and hospitals, among others.

They will also enjoy 50 percent discount on fares when using the services of Metro Mass Transit, to give them a sense of national appreciation for their contribution to national development.

The ministry, through its Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty programme (LEAP), collaborated with the Ghana National Health Insurance Authority to register 82,189 elderly persons, (65 years and above) onto the National Health Insurance Scheme across the nation, the minister revealed.

She added that her sector is also providing LEAP cash transfer grant to 259,853 persons who are 65 years and above in extreme poor households to smoothen their daily consumption.

As part of the ministry’s effort to address the health care needs of the aged, the sector is collaborating with the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service to mainstream geriatric care into the health care delivery system in Ghana.

She said twelve percent of the elderly have one or more types of disability or other, for which reason her ministry has developed the Ghana Accessibility Standards for the Built Environment that is to ensure all public institutions are disability-friendly, as well as friendly to older persons.

The ministry, she said, is also in the process of ensuring that all ten regions in Ghana have day recreational centres for the aged, to enable them interact with each other as well as the younger generation.

The population of elderly in Ghana has increased by more than seven-fold since the 1960 census. Rising from 213,477 in 1960 to 1,643,381 in 2010.

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