By Stacy Carmichael-James
A strategic plan for the elderly in Guyana was this morning presented to necessary stakeholders at a forum held at the Grand Coastal Hotel, East Coast Demerara.
Specialist on Family and Community Health, PAHO Janice Woolford speaking at the event informed that a recent Situation Analysis conducted by PAHO/WHO in collaboration with the Public Health Ministry shows a significant increase in the numbers of older populations across all ages, with the survival rate of those in the 60-65 age range almost doubling.
She said it is important to note that those in the 55-59 age range will join the elderly group in less than five years.
The Elderly Care Analysis Document highlights all the services being provided at present for the elderly as well as information on the illnesses that afflict the elderly and distribution across the various regions, among other data.
Deputy Director of Social Services at the Ministry of Social Protection, Abike Samuels reminded of the economic, social and cultural contributions of the elderly to the nation’s development, hence the commitment of the Ministry to improving the services being offered to them.
She acknowledged that many of the agencies do not possess the financial and technical resources to meet desired standards, but according to her this only gives impetus to the efforts to solve the existent problems.
Meantime, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Shamdeo Persaud noted that while the disease profile is changing with the emergence of more chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, people are surviving as a result of the specialized services being offered in the Public Health system.
Dr. Persaud reminded that the elderly also need urgent care as well as persons from other demographics.