Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati took time to visit three elderly women in Kachule Village, Traditional Authority Chadza in Lilongwe to appreciate the challenges they face in their day to day lives.
The minister did this as part of the 2020 commemorations of the International Day of Older Persons which falls on October 1 every year to focus on the well-being of older persons. This year was the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons.
Kaliati said government is committed to promoting the welfare of older persons in the country in order for them to enjoy their elderhood.
She said: “The Older Person’s Bill is government’s priority. Government is also planning for a pension fund for older people in the country to ensure that they are always cared for.”
One of the older women that Kaliati visited in Kachule Village, Therenji Kapeni, 90, said an older people’s pension fund would help her find food and other daily needs as she can no longer do anything to generate income.
In his speech, senior group village head Phatha said older people face many challenges which need government’s intervention.
He said: “Older people can no longer work or earn an income; and yet they need food, clothes and other things. It is alright if there is someone to look after and provide for them but most of them do not have anyone to do that for them.”
On his part, Malawi Network of Elderly Persons’ Organisations (Manepo) executive director Andrew Kavala called for the need to create an enabling environment for the elderly.
“If we are able to come up with appropriate policy and legal frameworks, we will address the challenges facing older people as they will be part and parcel of priorities that government has put in place,” he said.
Kavala also lobbied for the Older Persons Bill, which is expected to be tabled soon in Parliament, to be prioritised as it will bring together cross-cutting issues about older people, including health and care; income and security; as well as abuse and discrimination.
He said the country will be moving in the right direction once the Bill is passed.