Law demanded for welfare of senior citizens

HelpAge International

NOWSHERA: Speakers at a workshop on Saturday urged the government to get the 2007 bill on the senior citizens’ welfare approved by parliament, saying the elderly people faced problems, especially during emergency situations.

“A senior citizen bill has been pending with parliament since 2007. The government should initiate action for its early approval for enactment,” said Waqas A Qureshi of HelpAge International at an advocacy workshop held here.He said elderly people were the largest segment of the population in the world and that Pakistan was the sixth most populous country in the world with 6.8 per cent of its population comprising elderly people.

He added that the count would grow to 15.8 per cent by 2050.Mr Waqas said senior citizens faced problems like discrimination, health problems, poverty, denial of rights. He said the elderly people’s vulnerability grew considerably during disasters.The HelpAge International representative said welfare of senior citizens should be made part of emergency and development strategies as they were contributors and partners in the development of a society.

Another speaker, Dr Amjad Khan, called for provision of age-friendly primary health care at health centres and IDP camps and during emergency situations.He said elderly people had special needs in terms of food, health and accessibility of other services and this should be addressed by the government, humanitarian and development organisations and other stakeholders.

Dr Amjad said the recent report on ‘Ageing in the 21st Century: A Celebration and a Challenge’ released by UNFPA and HelpAge International, revealed that there would be more people over the age of 60 than children under 15 in the world by 2050.He said the report highlighted demographic shift, the role and contributions of older people, voices of older people.

He added that the development of the report involved 1,300 older woman and men from 36 countries who had shared experiences and concerns.Dr Amjad said the report demanded nationwide actions by the government to address the issues and challenges of senior citizens. – Dawn