The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has launched the EBAN elderly welfare card to protect the aged and safeguard their access to social facilities.
The EBAN card would provide express service for persons who are 65 years and above, in hospitals and banks so that they do not have to join queues to access those services.
In addition, the initiative, which is partnered by the United Nations Population Fund and Metro Mass Transit Limited, would slash the approved transport fares on metro mass buses, by 50 per cent for the elderly.
Consequently, all beneficiaries of the card could pay only half the fare on all metro mass buses.
According to the Deputy Minister of Transport, Mrs Joyce Mogtari, negotiations with private drivers to make them give some priority and relief to the aged are 0underway.
Speaking at the launch, Dr Babatunde Ahonsi, Country Representative for the UNFPA said: “The UNFPA is honoured to partner with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to protect the rights of the aged in society.”
He said that though population ageing is one of humanity’s greatest achievements, it comes with some challenges such as ensuring that the aged are not deprived of their rights and freedoms.
Mr Joshua Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, Greater Accra Regional Minister, noted that population ageing is projected to affect developing countries immensely within the next 50 years.
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur said the launch of the EBAN card is in adherence to the third pillar of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging: “ensuring enabling and supportive environments for the aged.”
She said with the support of the ministry of transport and the UNFPA 1,200 Eban cards have been issued under pilot basis at Chorkor, Bukom, Nima, La, Nungua and Ashaiman in Accra.
She called on the aged to participate in the registration process and for banks, hospitals, state offices and departments as well as the public, to recognise the card and make the initiative a success.
The General Secretary of the Government Pensioners Association of Ghana, Mr Edward Ameyibor, made a call on Metro Mass Transit to train their staff to treat the aged with tolerance and respect and to consider procuring disability-friendly buses.
Mr Benjamin Anyagre, Director of Welfare and Projects of the Local Government Staff Association of Ghana expressed the pleasure of the body to be part of the initiative since “service to the elderly, the vulnerable and disabled is an indispensable duty of everybody”.
“We will all grow old and it is our duty to protect those who are old now,” he said.
EBAN which means fence in Akan is the name of an Adinkra symbol which represents love, safety and security. GNA