Z’bar engages law reform in elderly welfare scheme

19Jan 2021
By Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Z’bar engages law reform in elderly welfare scheme

​​​​​​​ZANZIBAR President Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi said yesterday that the ongoing law and policy reform is intended to enhance the well-being of the elderly, improve their households and access to health services.

Wrapping up a seminar to review the Accountability and Fulfillment for Older Persons (AFFORD II) project and its implementation plan for 2021, the president assured Isles residents that the government will continue to formulate policies, introduce legislation and develop programs for improvement of older people's welfare.

The Older Persons Act No. 2 of 2020 was enacted to create a mechanism for the elderly to be assured of their rights and access to quality health services, he said, noting that the Isles government becomes the first in the region to introduce a welfare scheme covering the elderly, namely the Zanzibar Universal Social Pension Scheme (ZUPS).

The pension scheme for senior citizens was introduced in April 2016, following the 2012 national census which set older people as account for 5.6 percent of the entire population, while pensioners on monthly pension were only about six percent of the old age population.

“My government will continue taking care of the elderly through legislation and policies to guide experts in the Ministry of Health and other institutions,” he stated.

The Zanzibar leader also accepted an elders’ request that they should be given special consideration when seeking services at health facilities, expressed in a meeting with senior citizens at the State House on January 7.

Dr Mwinyi noted that the Zanzibar government spends 6.9bn/- annually to pay a 20,000/- monthly pension to Zanzibaris aged 70 and above, with over 28,513 senior citizens in Unguja and Pemba enrolled in the scheme.

United Nations agencies estimate that one in every six people in the world will be aged over 65 by 2050.

Chloë Horne, Second Secretary at the Irish Embassy, said Irish Aid has been supporting efforts on the elderly for years, commending efforts made by Zanzibar authorities in caring for the elderly, especially with the pension programme.

Ireland will continue to support such projects in Tanzania and in other countries across the region like Malawi, Mozambique and Ethiopia, she stated.

Earlier, HelpAge International director, Smart Daniel said the world has 901 million elderly people, equivalent to 12 percent of the world's population, a figure that is higher than the number of children under the age of five.

He affirmed that by 2050 there will be 2.92 billion older people in the world by current projections, which shall compel the formulation of better policies for the elderly to make them capable of contribution to the communities beyond working age.

He commended the Isles ’government for the pension scheme, noting that the social protection scheme for elders gives Zanzibar an exceptional reputation, a role model for other nations.

Data from the International Labour Organization (ILO) shows that about 68 percent of people above retirement age worldwide receive an old age pension, although it differs from one region to another.

In Europe and Asia about 95.2 percent are covered while in the United States the figure is lowered to about 86.2 percent of its older people. In Africa only 29.6 percent of the older population so far has access to actual pension. Read More...epaper.ippmedia.com

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