Accra, Oct. 9, GNA – A Centre for Ageing Studies which will focus solely on ageing related research and education, has established at the University of Ghana (UG).
Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, UG Vice Chancellor, said the Centre would spearhead research, advocacy and policies within the limit of traditional upbringing and development, purposely towards the welfare of the aged.
He said at the governmental level, little provision has been made for the well-being of the elderly, as such, a policy on ageing in Ghana is urgently needed to deal with the problems facing the ageing population.
Professor Oduro Owusu said this at the sixth Joint Psychology/ Psychiatry International Research Conference, held on the theme: “Ageing: Prospects, Challenges and Research in Africa”.
The Vice Chancellor said the absence of a comprehensive information means that ageing is poorly understood and, as a result, adequate resources are not allocated to meet the needs of the older population.
Citing United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and HelpAge International, 2012, he said recent rejections indicate that the elderly in Africa could account for 4.5 per cent of the continent’s population by 2030 and could reach nearly 10 per cent by 2050.
He said the rise in population particularly in Africa had become a global concern given the associated demographic, social and economic implications for the well-being of the aged, the implications for the future generations as well as the social and economic development of the country.
“How prepared are we to accommodate the continuous increase in the aged population”, Prof Oduro Owusu said and urged all stakeholders to start developing interest in the affairs of the Aged.
Mrs Irene Vida Gala, the Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana in her address, said Africa would be more populated than China by 2100; hence, it is appropriate to look at aging in Africa now.
She said despite these figures that put ageing as a long term process for Africans, ‘we must recognize that there are Africans who are ageing, and the traditional social system that use to be in place, is rapidly collapsing, most likely due to the changes in our societies and way of living’.
The Ambassador said this could also occur in countries where governments are not yet committed to provide good and efficient services to elders and retired people adding “my first point would be, how to get the attention from democratically elected governments”.
She suggested that there should be pressure groups to stand for the elders and push for public policies oriented to the specific group of the societies; and also the subject “ageing” must be brought to the headlines of the media, and as well linking democracy to ageing.
The Ambassador said politicians are expected to respond to voters; whereas, in a society with a youthful population politicians would not bring this issue to their agenda.
“Do you know if any of the political parties have included in their manifestoes a specific policy towards the ageing population?” she asked.
She said prospects, challenges and research on ageing population in Africa are clearly linked to the democratic political process, however, researchers and new students who are participating in the debate have a role to play, to drive ageing related research to inform public policies and pressure groups.