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‘Malawi worst place to grow old’

The Elderly People Association of Malawi has said it agrees with a recent report by Help Age International which ranks Malawi as one of the 10 worst places to grow old in the world.

The association says aged people in Malawi go through hardship and authorities do not seem to pay closer attention.

A visit by The Daily Times to Chiwaya Day Care Centre in Chigumula Township in Blantyre yesterday revealed that 80 elderly people that are cared for at the centre receive one meal a week, a situation that has put their health status in jeopardy.

According to the chairperson of Elderly Association of Malawi, Hellen Chasowa, inadequate food supply and improper housing are some of the challenges aged people are facing.

“Poverty is the main cause of the misery these people are going through. We do appreciate the interventions government is implementing; however, we feel they are not enough because problems of the elderly are huge. These people suffer from segregation in silence,” said Chasowa.

One of the old people at the centre, who could not remember her name due to old age, said she stays alone, hence life is becoming hard as she cannot do everything on her own.

The woman, who lives in a dilapidated house, pleaded with well-wishers to build her a proper toilet and give her food so that she can live a better life.

“The only time I eat proper food is when I visit Chiwaya Day Care Centre but that happens once in a week. I also need a proper house as you can see my house is dilapidated. I plea with well-wishers to help me with housing, a bathroom and a toilet,” said the source.

Meanwhile, Minister Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati said her ministry is doing the best it can to promote the welfare of the elderly such as through the social cash transfer.

“We have implemented cash transfer and village banking programmes to help improve the welfare of the elderly. So, yes, as a ministry, we are doing our best,” she said.

Help Age International’s Global Age Watch Index measured the social and economic welfare of those over 60 in 96 nations.

The study focused on income security, health and whether someone had access to public transport, social connections as well as their physical safety.

Switzerland topped the list and Afghanistan came last.

Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda and Uganda were all in the bottom 10 countries.

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