Thursday, January 19, 2012

Social Welfare and Ageing in Tanzania

 
Ageing in humans refers to a multidimensional process of physical, psychological, and social change. The national ageing policy defines ageing as a biological process which has its own dynamic, largely beyond human control. The age of 60 years and above, is considered to be the beginning of old age and roughly equivalent to retirement ages in Tanzania. UN Population Division projected that in the next 45 years, the number of persons in the world aged 60 years or older is expected to increase from 672 million people in 2005 to nearly 1.9 billion by 2050. Today 60 per cent of older persons live in developing countries.

 
Ageing in humans refers to a multidimensional process of physical, psychological, and social change. The national ageing policy defines ageing as a biological process which has its own dynamic, largely beyond human control. The age of 60 years and above, is considered to be the beginning of old age and roughly equivalent to retirement ages in Tanzania. UN Population Division projected that in the next 45 years, the number of persons in the world aged 60 years or older is expected to increase from 672 million people in 2005 to nearly 1.9 billion by 2050. Today 60 per cent of older persons live in developing countries.

In Tanzania the population of aged 60 and above is only 4.6% but according to integrated labor survey (2002), 66% of the population aged 65 years and above are economically active while 7% are unemployed. This means in the next 20 years to come there will be more unemployed senior citizen leaving under social security benefits and others 7% have to rely on their own. Old aged people are assets to the nation as such that some societies develop a comprehensive welfare programs to its old generation. In Tanzania old population are negatively conceived and mistreated. In Lake Regions for example old people are faced with fears of being killed over witchcrafts allegations while former East African Community employees have to riot to claim their social security benefits.  On the other hand the government through MKUKUTA has a target by 2010 among others reaching 40% and 100% of eligible older peoplewith effective social protection measures and free medical care and attended by specialized medical personnel respectively.

Despite the policy rhetoric reality as in the views of the people report (2007) indicates that 65% of old people (of which women are more than men) had health problems requiring regular attention, mostly concerning their mobility/walking. Access to health services is a nightmare since those who were seeking treatment, 35% paid themselves, 27% were paid for by family, 15% received free treatment, and 14% did not undergo treatment. Nearly half of the over 60s, 48% declared that they did not know that they are entitled to free treatment in government facilities 42% were men and 58% women. In addition, approximately one fifth, 18%, of elderly respondents said that they had been refused treatment in government facility because they could not afford to pay for services, and 13% indicated that they had been refused free treatment due to lack of proof of their age.” These findings have profound questions on social economic policy setup to the disadvantageous groups’ welfare particularly aged people. There is a need to reverse the trend in the policy and institutional set up in order to handle old people with dignity and compassion (http://www.taknet.or.tz)



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