Botswana on Tuesday launched the Healthy and Active Aging Program Strategy, with the goal of providing guidance on the development of the country’s elderly care services, such as easier access to health facilities and other services.
Edwin Dikoloti, the minister of Health and Wellness, said during the launch in Gaborone, the Botswanan capital, that they have to ensure that the health systems are aligned to the changing needs of people as they age. In Botswana, the elderly reside mostly in rural regions, with some living alone and facing complex health concerns such as mobility issues.
“Most, therefore, find it difficult to take care of themselves due to among others, challenges of inaccessible health facilities and being unable to take their medication at prescribed times, on account of physiological and memory problems that limit their self-care and other day-to-day activities. This, therefore, gives us an indication of the kind of situation that our aging and aged population lives in,” he said.
According to the ministry, about 8.5 percent of the population in Botswana is over the age of 65, and some people still have difficulty accessing health care.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative Josephine Namboze said that Botswana, like other countries, faces significant challenges in ensuring that healthy and social systems are prepared to deal with demographic shifts. It is critical to align healthcare systems with the needs of older populations, both mentally and physically, she said.
In April 2019, the Health Ministry, with the assistance of the WHO, conducted a situational analysis of aging and the health of older adults in Botswana.
According to the survey findings, the majority of older people in Botswana suffered from hypertension and were largely infected with and affected by HIV. Enditem