The former President and the 2024 flagbearer for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, has reiterated his commitment to establishing a Centre of Excellence for training social workers to care for the elderly and reactivating the Eban Elderly Welfare Card to enable Ghanaians above sixty (60) years to have priority access to social services.
He further promised to amend the National Health Insurance Act to exempt all persons aged sixty (60) and above from paying the National Health Insurance Scheme premium which according to him will remove the inequity where those above 60 and on Social Security and National Insurance Trust pensions do not pay premiums, but their counterparts from the informal sector pay premiums.
Speaking as a special guest at the 1st Ghana Ageing Conference & Commemoration of International Day of Older Persons in Accra on the theme; “Fulfilling the Promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons; Across Generations” and was organised by Los Abuelos foundation.
The International day of older people is observed on October 1 each year. On December 14, 1990, the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish October 1 as the International Day of Older People as recorded in resolution 45/106
The former, also said he and the NDC are also determined to establish Day Centres where the elderly could visit, play games, and interact with their peers and remain committed to these promises and shall revisit them appropriately.
He promised by creating more community-based social support networks, such as senior citizen associations or clubs adding that the elderly will connect, share experiences, and find emotional support.
“It is also my proposal that the Ministry of Tourism consider the promotion of a Senior Citizens Tourism Programme, which will enable our older persons to visit interesting domestic tourism sites they did not have the opportunity to visit during their working lives”. He stated.
Former President Mahama, advocated for the restoration of the previously celebrated Senior Citizens Day, commemorated on July 1, the country’s Republic Day, pointing out that by reinstating this day, Ghana would not only honour its senior citizens, but also evaluate the quality of care and support available to them.
As part of his efforts during his Presidency, Mr Mahama contributed one million Ghana Cedis to the Musicians’ Union of Ghana (MUSIGHA) as seed money for their aged musician fund.
This initiative aimed to alleviate the suffering of elderly musicians who had dedicated their lives to the industry.
Former President Mahama, emphasized the importance of affordable and quality healthcare, particularly as we age and was believed that integrating well-functioning geriatric care into Ghana’s health system is crucial and calls for an increase in the number of healthcare professionals specializing in geriatrics.
To address this issue, the NDC 2024 flagbearer proposes the implementation of an Elderly Long-Term Care programme (ELTC) aims to provide a range of non-medical and medical services to individuals who have reduced physical capacity to care for themselves over extended periods. These services will include assisted mobility, safe feeding, and assistance with shopping, among others.
According to him, the primary goal of the ELTC programme is to enable elderly Ghanaians in need of long-term care to achieve and maintain optimal levels of personal functioning and dignity adding that; y offering the necessary support and services, the programme will enhance the quality of life for elderly individuals who require assistance with daily activities.
His proposal reflects his commitment to addressing the healthcare needs of Ghana’s aging population. By implementing the ELTC programme and focusing on specialized geriatric care, he aims to ensure that elderly Ghanaians receive the care and support they require to lead fulfilling and dignified lives.