‘Set up fund for healthcare needs of pensioners’
The Amalgamation of Pensioners and Retired Officers Association (APROA) has proposed the establishment of a special health endowment fund to cater for the healthcare needs of pensioners across the country
group said there was the need for the endowment fund, due to the difficulties pensioners faced in paying for the treatment of certain health conditions.
“You go to hospitals and you see the frustration on the faces of many pensioners because of their inability to afford treatment for certain conditions. The most painful part is that they suffer from these conditions due to the work they rendered to the nation,” the acting Executive Secretary of APROA, Mr Edward Amayibor, said.
He said certain conditions the workplace environment, such as fumes, heat and others that lead to stress, among others, led to ailments after retirement.
Mr Amayibor was speaking at the presentation of a certificate of affiliation by the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) to the association in Accra yesterday.
The presentation of the certificate officially makes the association, which is made up of six retired staff associations, a member of the TUC.
The APROA is made up of the National Pensioners Association of Ghana, the Retired Prison Officers Association, the Association of Retired Immigration Officers, the Retired Customs Officers Association and the TUC Doyens Association.
Health endowment fund
Mr Amayibor called on stakeholders responsible for the welfare of workers and pensioners to brainstorm on the proposal and come up with a plan on how to establish the fund.
“Some countries have put in place a system that relieves pensioners from paying for health care. This country must do the same because pensioners are suffering. How does a pensioner receiving a meagre pension pay for the treatment of a kidney disease that runs into hundreds of cedis?’’ he queried.
On how to fund the proposed endowment fund, Mr Ameyibor said corporate bodies, labour unions, retired staff associations and philanthropists must contribute to the fund, adding: “If we rely on the government alone, the establishment of the fund will not become a reality.’’
The Secretary-General of the TUC, Dr Yaw Baah, who presented the certificate of affiliation to APROA, said the country had failed to provide adequate safety nets for the aged, a situation he described as a big shame and a blot on its conscience.
“Less than one million Ghanaians are on retirement and we cannot take care of them. We have old people begging on our streets. It is a big shame on the nation,” he stressed.
The TUC, he said, had, in the past, advocated the introduction of a basic income of Gh¢100 a month for the aged but the proposal was not implemented due to lack of funds.
Dr Baah observed that the conditions of active workers were also not the best, particularly in terms of wages.
“The average salary is about Gh¢1,000 and workers have to keep part as . If the conditions of workers are terrible, then imagine the conditions of pensioners,’’ he stated.
Dr Baah lauded APROA for affiliating with the TUC, noting that it would go a long way to improve the conditions of pensioners.
“We are proud that our senior citizens have joined the TUC. It is good that you have joined the TUC because if you stand alone, you cannot win your battles,’’ he added.