Some elderly women receiving free drugs
Some elderly women

Kenya on Tuesday marked the International Day of Older Persons with campaigners calling for strengthening existing legislation to eradicate all forms of abuse against this vulnerable demographic.

Prafulla Mishra, regional director for HelpAge International for Africa , said that African countries required a policy shift, progressive legislation and robust awareness campaigns to halt the marginalization of senior citizens.

Business24

Mishra said that state-led incentives are key to ensure older persons have access to basic needs like food, shelter and healthcare.

“Age-friendly health care services, improved income and policies that promote inclusion have ensured that older people in this region suffer minimal discrimination,” said Prafulla in a statement issued in Nairobi,

He lauded Kenya and neighboring countries that have developed robust social welfare schemes for the elderly population including health insurance and a monthly stipend.

The official said that harnessing the intellectual capital of senior citizens will hasten the realization of sustainable development in Kenya.

Kenya has fast-tracked ratification of the African Union (AU) Protocol on the rights of older persons that was adopted in 2016 to ensure they are protected from economic and social exclusion.

Erastus Maina, Kenya Country Program Coordinator, HelpAge International said that affirmative action is required to end discrimination of older persons in healthcare, education, housing and employment.

“Kenya’s aging population has often suffered neglect and abuse hence the need to prioritize affirmative action geared towards placing their interests at the heart of national development programs,” said Maina.

He said that Kenya should borrow international best practices to enhance contribution of senior citizens in programs that advance economic growth, political stability and social cohesion.

Kenya has an estimated 1.5 million people aged over 65 years who have already been enrolled in state-financed pension scheme. Enditem

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