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General News of Wednesday, 27 January 1999

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New national policy on aging in the offing

Tema (Greater Accra) 27 Jan.'99

The government is collaborating with all stakeholders and organisations to develop a draft national policy on aging, Mr Harry Sawyerr, Member of Council of State, announced in Tema yesterday. The policy will address issues such as education, housing, social services, recreation, health, transport and welfare system to provide older persons with higher quality of life. At the launching of the International Year of Older Persons, under the theme, " Towards a society for all ages", Mr Sawyer said proposals on the policy will soon be submitted to the public for discussion. Ghana will work with both local and international organisations to promote the development of a well-articulated system that would provide fair access to services that ensure improved quality of life for older persons, he said. Dr J.B. Asare, vice-president of Helpage Ghana, expressed the hoped that the draft policy will take cognisance of the United Nations principles on older persons which guarantees their independence, self-fulfilment, care and dignity. Economic security of those working in the informal sector must be addressed since social security covers only 15 per cent of the elderly population leaving out farmers, fishermen and petty traders. Dr Asare appealed to the government to formulate a national pension policy to regulate, guide and monitor the pension schemes in the country with the aim of reducing the burden of the elderly. Helpage Ghana will launch a national training programme known as the pre-retirement training and consultancy service for people preparing to retire from active service and those already retired. The programme will aim at addressing a psychological, physical and financial changes and other difficulties involved in retirement, Dr. Asare announced. Mr Abdoulie Janneh, UNDP Resident Representative, said in Sub-Saharan Africa, general life expectancy is still 50 and in some nations it falls below the 50 mark while the rapid advancement of survival occurred world-wide, the change which we call population aging is most pronounced in economically developed nations, he said.