29.04.2005 General News

Government urged to have policy on the Aged

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Accra, April 29, GNA - Help Age Ghana on Friday called on the government to come out with a policy on the aged to address issues affecting them to make life easier and pleasant for them.

Ms. Joanna Baddoo, a Board Member of Help Age Ghana said, Ghana for a long time has had no policy for the aged and most of the programmes in churches, government agencies and financial institutions did not address their helpless predicament.

Speaking at the end of a five-day Para-legal workshop for 20 participants from Greater-Accra and Ashanti Regions, Ms Baddoo stated that the aged had been ignored for far too long. The workshop aimed at empowering participants with the necessary para-legal and human rights advocacy skills to intervene and advise older persons whenever their rights were violated. Ms Baddoo said, "Because there was no policy for the aged, conditions at most institutions such as the banks and hospitals sometimes worsened their woes."

She said it would be proper for the government to adopt the policy, which could be passed into law to assist the aged to know their rights and for them to be treated with respect and understanding. "Aging is a process that each and every one would go through once, a person is born, so therefore our institutions must adopt programmes that would cater for the aged."

The board member noted that there was always the general feeling among the aged that they were being over-taken by sweeping developments around the globe and had to be competing with the young. The need to get the aged on board to offer their support in the nation's development effort and to share their knowledge and experience with the youth was also another factor.

She therefore, called on the aged to get on board by arming themselves with adequate information and be abreast with technology. Ms Baddoo noted that in some parts of the world Information Technology programmes were offered to the aged freely but regretted that in Ghana the aged had often been left neglected.

"Information is knowledge, if we don't have information we would not be able to know what is happening around us," she said. Mr Martin C. Mwosu, Regional Director for Legal Aid Board encouraged the participants to demystify disputes and issues in their communities so that they could decrease the load of cases in the courts. Mr Mwosu, who is also a legal advisor to Help Age Ghana said, currently there were a few lawyers and judges in some communities and urged them to make use of their skills and knowledge to resolve disputes. He urged the participants to network with their colleagues so that they could share problems and experiences and seek advice from other affiliate bodies engaged in legal services whenever the need arose. Participants were taken through topics including: "Processes of legal dispute resolution and resources for dealing with them, International Human rights framework, the Constitution and older people and Mediation, grievance handling and Alternative Dispute Resolution. Others were leadership, networking and community mobilization and marriage laws.

The 20 participants were presented with certificates.

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