The World Health Organisation (WHO), says the world’s population is ageing fast.
In the WHO’s message on ‘World Health Day’ observed April 7, the UN agency said by the middle of this century, almost two billion people will be over 60 years of age and more than 400 million people will be 80 years old.
In Ghana it is estimated that 7% of the population is over 50 years and the figure is expected to rise.
According to the Executive Director of HelpAge Ghana, an NGO looking after the interest of the aged, Ebenezer Adjetey-Sorsey, “The 2010 census showed that 7% of the population is over 50, and we expect that figure to get higher.”
According to the CIA Factsheet life expectancy at birth of the total population of Ghana is 61 years. It is 59.78 years for men and 62.25 years for women by 2011 estimates.
And this ageing population is said to pose challenges to the country’s healthcare system.
Speaking to the Guardian, Adjetey-Sorsey said Ghana’s growing ageing population posed problems for the country’s healthcare system. He cited the high costs of Ghana’s health insurance system and the lack of community care for the elderly.
“We have community health nurses who basically care for children but they should be trained to provide information for old people as well, as it is expensive to send older people to hospital,” he said.
He revealed that a delegation of older campaigners is scheduled to meet Ghana’s health minister on Thursday to lobby for changes in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which covers only 5.4% of older people – 70 and above.
He said the delegates will call for the age of exemption from payment of the minimum premium into the NHIS to be reduced from 70 to 60 – the definition of an older person in the national ageing policy approved by cabinet in 2010.
They will also ask that coverage of diseases and drugs should be made more relevant to the healthcare needs of older people. Currently glasses, hearing aids, orthopaedic aids, dentures and treatment of chronic renal failure are not covered, he said.
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