Kenyan elderly persons carrying heavy burden of lifestyle diseases: report

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FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2016 file photo, a researcher holds a container of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at the Biomedical Sciences Institute at Sao Paulo University in Brazil. The Zika virus is mainly transmitted through bites from the same kind of mosquitoes that can spread other tropical diseases, like dengue fever, chikungunya and yellow fever. (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)

The proportion of Kenya’s senior citizens affected by non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has increased rapidly, says a report launched by international charity HelpAge International on Friday.

According to the Global AgeWatch Insights 2008 report compiled by HelpAge International and American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Kenya is among African countries with a heavy burden of cancers, heart ailments and diabetes among the elderly.

Erastus Maina, country program coordinator of HelpAge International said the new report should motivate policymakers to design robust interventions aimed at helping older persons manage non-communicable diseases.

“We require health policies that are responsive to the needs of the elderly people as they grapple with a host of lifestyle diseases. The health systems should be reformed to boost response to shifting disease patterns affecting the aging demographic,” said Maina.

Kenya was among three African countries including Tanzania and Zimbabwe that were profiled in the Global AgeWatch Insight 2018 report that shed light on the link between aging and a surge in lifestyle diseases.

The report also analyzed older people’s right to health in the context of the current demographic, epidemiological and health systems transition across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Statistics from ministry of labor and social protection indicate that Kenya’s aging population is growing at an annual rate of 3.5 percent, thus exerting pressure on public coffers required to meet healthcare needs of this vulnerable demographic. Enditem

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