MANEPO for enhanced elderly people's health rights

The Malawi Network for Older Persons Organization (MANEPO) has re-affirmed its commitment in enhancing and protecting the rights of elderly people in the country.

MANEPO Country Director Andrew Kavala made the remarks on Friday at Naisi primary school ground in Zomba during an event organized in collaboration with Zomba District Heath Office aimed at sensitizing people on rights of elderly in the country. 

Kavala said the MANEPO implemented a project focusing on HIV /AIDS targeting 50+ years old population in making sure that the services available on HIV /AIDS are include older people.

“We are implementing the project which targets 50+ years old population in order to support community systems in ensuring that elderly people are not left behind on aggressive messages and services of HIV/ AIDS in all parts of the country,” Kavala said. 

He added that older people are also vulnerable to these diseases, therefore, the services around HIV should equally be shared to the elderly people.  

Kavala further said that many organizations and projects are target youths leaving out the older person  that make them suffer in silence, hence the MANEPO project will help older people to find services of HIV in hospitals and know their medical rights. 

He therefore underscored the need for all stakeholders to work together in issues of protecting the rights of elderly people in the county.

Kavala: health rights of elderly people must be protected at all costs

“We are engaging policy makers, government and donors to ensure that any intervention any services around HIV/AIDS are mainstreamed to aging components, in so doing, we are going to leave no anyone behind,” he said.

Meanwhile Kavala said MANEPO is also empowering the older people by creating groups, support and provide them with technical skills so that they should be able to speak for themselves.

In his remarks, Director of health and social services in Zomba district Alexander Chijuwa advised the health workers to respect the rights of older people when they seek services related to HIV /AIDS.

He said the elderly are vulnerable to the different diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, blood pressure and HIV /AIDS, hence the messages regarding the diseases should also be shared equally to the people.  

“We have been receiving grievances that the health workers sometimes mistreate elderly people in the hospitals. This tendency denies older people to access health services to the challenges that are affecting their lives. I advise the heath personnel to be responsible enough and respect and give proper treatment to the elderly when they seek for medical help," he said. 

Chijuwa added that older people are facing various challenges in the communities such as being called sorceresses, denied food and many others, hence sensitizing the communities on the rights of older people will help to reduce the problems they are facing in their day to day lives.

However, Chijuwa urged other organizations to come forward in Zomba and join hands with MANEPO in ensuring that the rights of elderly people are protected 

Chijuwa: Other organizations should join MANEPO in safeguarding for elderly people's rights

“We appeal with other organizations to join hands with MANEPO in making sure that the rights of elderly people are promoted. Older people lack a lot of support, so one organization cannot manage to cover all areas needed, therefore, communities should also take its part in taking care of these people,” Chijuwa added.

One of the beneficiaries of the project from Makungula village in the area of Traditional Authority Mkagula Alfred Lovemore Mtawira commended the project saying it helps to protect their rights of older people in the area.

Mtawira said the coming in of MANEPO has helped the elderly to have enough access of health services compared to the previous years where the older people were mixed up in the line with everyone in hospitals.

“The project has helped us a lot and currently we are living in heathy life because we able to know our rights in terms of health services “he said. 

However, Mtawira asked the government to put strict laws in order to deal with people who persecute the elderly people in the country.