HelpAge Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, which seeks the welfare of the aged, on Saturday, marked the World Health Day with a call on government to provide healthcare support and social protection for older people including preventive and rehabilitative healthcare.
A press release signed by Ebenezer Adjetey-Sorsey, Executive Director of HelpAge Ghana and copied to the Ghana News Agency, said good health imparted directly on the level and sustainability of economic growth and that health is a function of poverty.
The statement recommended that the age of exemption from payment of the minimum premium under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which stands at 70 years should be reviewed downwards to 60 years which is the proposed age definition of an older person in the National Ageing Policy.
It said older people should be exempted in whole or in part from the payment of processing fee to encourage the many poor in the rural areas who are non-pensioners to access healthcare services.
The statement said the diseases and drugs coverage of the NHIS should be made relevant to the healthcare needs of older people adding that geriatrics should be mainstreamed into the syllabi of Health Training Institutions in the country.
It noted that the scope of Community Health Nursing should be expanded to include house-to-house health information services and treatment for older people at homes especially for the bed-ridden.
The statement concluded that strategies should be put in place to promote good health and healthy behaviors at all ages to prevent or delay the development of chronic diseases in the country.
“The 2012 World Health Day has presented Ghana with another opportunity to take a second look at health care for older people, which has been tackled more as a cost item than relevance and appropriateness to the target group. We should not forget that we, all of us, are the ageing” GNA