By Dillon Goring
BY 2020, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and other stakeholders will build a platform to support “Healthy Aging” in adults 60 years and over.
This is with a view to increasing life expectancy, longevity and improving the quality of life of our elderly population, by making countrywide quality health services accessible to all.
This was further emphasised at the recently concluded Health Expo 2019, which was held at the Sophia Exhibition Complex.
Coordinator of the Elderly Health Programme at the Ministry of Public Health is Dr Melissa De Haarte. During an interactive session on” Elderly Health” with members of the public, Dr De Haarte made the point that we are continually aging from the time of conception and, as a result, we should prepare for life’s aging process.
According to Dr De Haarte, the Department for the Elderly of the MoPH aims to combat social issues such as ageism, elderly abuse, retirement, caregiver stress /burn out and health issues such as alzheimers, depression, loneliness, chronic diseases (hypertension, diabetes, arthritis and pain management). Dr De Haarte further indicated that there is need for adjustment on the part of young people who have to take care of aging parents.
The Department for the Elderly in the MoPH, in collaboration with the Pan-American Health Organisation, carried out a situational analysis of elderly health in Guyana in 2016.
As a result, a National Elderly Health Committee has been established in partnership with the Ministry of Social Protection. Monthly medical outreaches are conducted at elderly homes and this exercise is executed by the Regional Health Services Department and Elderly Health Clubs have been established in Regions Four and 10.
This is aimed at fostering healthy aging in all administrative regions and aligning health systems to the needs of the older population.