Ageing Demands: Older persons claim specific care, activists on policy gap, Government finds no gap

“I am tired now, you have made me talk for long and it is good for me but I am tired. I like having someone attending to me for a talk as I usually spend entire day alone.”

Retired Pastor Naasson Hitimana.

Activists advocate for particular policies

Well over 10 years through Age Demand Action (ADA), rights activists have advocated for international convention on the rights of older persons, participation of older persons in governments’ decisions that affect them and having choice about their lives in their respective families.

There is still a lack of international convention and local policies about the rights and welfare of older persons.We are urging the Government of Rwanda to set up particular platforms through which older persons can channel their concerns as children, youth, women and people with disabilities have theirs.

Most of older persons suffer serious depression and stigma resulting from isolation and creating space for them to participate in the country and family’s life would be the best solution as well as developing effective social protection schemes for older persons.

Madeleine Nirere, the Chairperson of National Commission for Human Rights, Told igihe.com that after the recent outreach in which the commission learnt about lack of proper protection of older persons, the commission recommends government to develop a policy on eldercare and support existing charitable centres for older persons.

She added that considering the frailty of older persons, they deserve special care, saying that Rwanda should ratify and implement obligations in international and regional instruments on older persons’ rights and protection.

Ms Nirere stressed that older persons’ close and extended family members, neighbours, close government entities and Rwandan society at large should take responsibility of eldercare.

Minister of State in charge of Social Affairs and Social Protection at the Ministry of Local Government,Dr Alvera Mukabaramba,Told igihe.com that government does its best to support all vulnerable people and older persons constitute the majority of beneficiaries of social protection schemes such as cash transfer under Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP) and Community-Based Health Insurance (Mutuelle de Santé).

“Not all elderly persons need support. Some are receiving their pension while others have children or other family members supporting them. We are working on a comprehensive social protection policy considering together all categories of the disadvantaged as the current policy will expire in 2018,”Dr Alvera Mukabaramba said.

Dr Mukabaramba urged young people to save for their old age, saying that every working Rwandan, not only monthly salary earners but also informal sector actors including those on government support schemes, has to save for pension as a sustainable solution for ageing demands.

“Government seeks to strengthen pension scheme and poor people who will join the scheme will receive government’s incentives according to law which is now in Parliament. Meanwhile, children should not forsake their old parents and government will intervene where necessary,” Dr Alvera Mukabaramba said.