Make Geriatics Part Of Health Training - HelpAge Ghana
5/3/2012 8:31:33 AM -
HelpAge Ghana, an NGO, has called on the Ministry of Health to mainstream geriatrics into the syllabus of health training institutions to make health workers more prepared to appreciate and provide the needed healthcare services for older people.
They are also asking for the expansion of community health nursing to include house-to-house health information services and treatment for older people especially the bed- ridden ones at homes.
Mr Edward Ameyebor, Vice President of HelpAge Ghana, who presented the recommendations to the officials of the Ministry, explained that the absence of specialised training in geriatrics for health workers has most times resulted in tension between them and the older people.
He said unfortunately, some health workers ignorantly and loosely describe the medical conditions of older people, who visit health facilities to receive counseling and care as “old age” as though it was a disease.
“Unfortunately, self reports indicate that older people sometimes suffer inconveniences and embarrassment in some health facilities as a result of this wrong perception and inadequate human capacity”, he added.
Mr Ameyibor, who is also the National Secretary of the SSNIT Pensioners Association recommended that strategies be put in place to promote good health and healthy behaviours at all ages since by nature each and every one of us will get to the stage of old age.
HelpAge also recommended that the Ministry of Health enter into a discussion with the National Health Insurance Authority to review downwards, the age of exemption from payment of the minimum premium, under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), from the presently 70 years to 60 years.
The proposed age is the chronological age definition of an older person in the National Ageing Policy approved by Cabinet in October 2010.
The older people are also asking for them to be exempted from the payment of processing fee of the NHIS either in whole or in part to encourage more older people, who are poor and are non-pensioners, to access healthcare services under the Scheme.
They also recommended that the diseases and drugs coverage of the NHIS should be made more relevant to healthcare needs of the older people.
HelpAge Ghana commended the Ministry for showing respect to older people and urged government to take ageing more serious and work towards adding more life to years of people rather than adding more years to life which is now full of” headaches”.