The Health Services Workers Union (HSWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for the establishment of centres in all 10 regions of the country to cater for the health of the elderly.
They contended that the elderly had contributed significantly to the development of Ghana and, therefore, needed to have access to quality and decent healthcare services to enable them to enjoy the rest of their lives.
The Chairman of the HSWU, Mr Reynold Ofosu Tenkorang, who made the call at the launch of an Elderly Care Training Manual in Accra last Thursday, said ageing was an inevitable process of life people went through.
The manual, which is the first of its kind, was developed by the HSWU, TUC and other stakeholders. It contains elaborate information on the aged for both caregivers and educators.
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It also advocates decent living conditions for the elderly and offers employment and professional advice to employees.
Mr Tenkorang further lamented that the aged had been neglected in the country and that some people did not often acknowledge their contributions to the nation as it pertained in other countries.
“At public places like hospitals, on buses and at lorry stations, most people do not acknowledge the elderly who have contributed a lot to make the country what it is today,” he said.
According to him, there were also no geriatric doctors or nurses to take care of the elderly in the country and appealed to the government to, as a matter of urgency, help address the situation.
For his part, a Director at the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mr Mawutor Ablo, said the ministry, in collaboration with stakeholders, had come out with a national ageing policy which, when passed into law, would help address challenges facing the elderly.
He described as unfortunate the fact that there were only two geriatric doctors in the country who were even not practising.
According to the 2010 census, the aged population in the country had increased from 213,477 in 1960 to 1,643,381 in 2010.
He, however, observed that despite the increasing number of the elderly, there was no corresponding improvement in their care.
Mr Ablo commended the HSWU and its partners for their initiative in coming out with a book on the proper care for the elderly.
He assured them of the ministry’s commitment to partner the HSWU to champion the cause of the elderly which he said was in line with the Ministry of Health’s vision to have a healthy population for national development.
The Deputy General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Mr Joshua Ansah, who launched the book, said elderly care was dear to the heart of the TUC.