By Emmanuel Simpokolwe:
Deputy Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Agnes Nkusa Nkhoma has warned the public against mistreating older persons.
She was speaking in Lilongwe yesterday ahead of the global commemoration of the International Day of Older Persons today.
Nkhoma said it is disappointing that the contributions and experiences of older women remain largely invisible and disregarded.
Currently, the population of older persons in the country stands at 1.1million, with 58.2 percent being women, according to Nkhoma.
She said older women in both rural and urban areas face a pyramid of challenges including limited economic and other opportunities, access to health, among others.
“Older women experience age-related violence. Our statistics indicate that seven out of 19 older persons experiencing violence are older women,” she said.
Executive Director of Malawi Network of Elderly Persons Organisation, Andrew Kavala, said older persons play a very significant role in the social economic development of the country.
He called on the government to make deliberate policies that protect the lives and divinity of older persons.
“Recognition of the vital contribution of older women and promotion of the inclusion of their voices, perception and needs has not been at the centre stage of our policy and advocacy initiatives,” he said.
Prior to assuming the reigns of power, the Tonse Alliance had promised to improve the welfare of elderly people by pledging to introduce a monthly allowance of K15,000; a move that has, to this day, not yet materialised.
The International Day of Older Persons will be commemorated under the theme “The resilience of older persons in a changing world, highlighting the resilience and contributions of older women”.