The elderly constitutes 5% of the population Says PS Jallow
Thursday, April 12, 2012
The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare,Saturday presided over the commemoration of the World Health Day, organised by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with Ageing With a Smile Initiative (ASI) at the Faji Kunda Health Centre in the Kanifing Municipality.
, Yaya Sirreh Jallow said that in The Gambia, the ageing population is consistently increasing, constituting around 5% of the population, due primarily to improved socio-economic status of the population and health Services. He however disclosed that the health risks associated with ageing are hypertension, diabetes, cancer, dental problems, medical disorders and problems relating to bones.
He noted that statistics from the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital( RVTH) revealed that in 2009, 13,071 outpatient consultations were hypertension, and 14,333 outpatient consultations were diabetes and that the daily consultations for diabetes and hypertension were the highest, recording an average of 93 and 81 patients respectively.
Commenting on the theme,(Ageing and Health), with the slogan (Good health adds life to years), Jallow described it as befitting.
He explained that the creation of an old-friendly environment and early detection of disease as well as prevention and care at the appropriate time would improve the wellbeing of people in general and old people in particular, noting that ageing populations around the world pose a challenge to the achievement of socio-economic development goals in many countries,0 which The Gambia is not an exception
He observed that societies that take care of their aged populations and support their active participation in daily life, will be better prepared to cope with the ever-increasing challenges of life.
For his part, the World Health Organization Country representative in The Gambia, Dr Thomas Sukwa said inAfrica the elderly have always been reversed as the source of wisdom and guardian of beneficial cultural practices, family,unity and identity. He added that the elderly plays a pivotal role in the care and support of children and contribute to the development of countries only if they are healthy.
Dr Sukwa however noted that the world is rapidly ageing between 2000 and 2050 and that the number of people aged 60 years and above is expected to increase from 605 million to 2 million.
Balla Joof, secretary general of the Ageing with a Smile Imitative ( ASI), a registered community-based organization, informed that ASI was launched in 2010 by the late minister of Health, Dr Abubacarr Gaye, established to a local response to the multiple problems faced by the elderly in The Gambia.
Joof revealed that based on the clinical data collected fromthe seven screening sessions hypertension, diabetes, arthritis and poor vision are the main health concerns of the elderly.
He said the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the private sector and the media are highly supportive of efforts intended to help the elderly.
Author: by Momodou Faal