Every year, on 1st October the World celebrates the International Day for Older Persons and this year’s theme was “STEPPING INTO THE FUTURE: TAPPING THE TALENTS, CONTRIBUTIONS AND PARTICIPATION OF OLDER PERSONS IN SOCIETY.”
The International Day for Older Persons was adopted by United Nations General Assembly in 1990 and was first observed globally in 1991. This year’s day was about enabling and expanding the contributions of older people in their families, communities and societies. It focuses on the pathways that support full and effective participation in old age, in accordance with old persons’ basic rights, needs and preferences.
This year’s theme looks at how together we can step into the future with no one left behind and how we can tap into the often-overlooked talents and under-appreciated contributions of older persons.
HENU – Health Nest Uganda in collaboration with the National Council for Older Persons, Uganda Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Entebbe Municipal Council and Katabi Town Council organized the commemoration of international day for older persons in Entebbe Sub-district on 7th October 2017. The day was preceded by a series of activities including Home Visits, Foot Ball and Netball matches between old and young people, exhibition of older persons’ works and a tour to the zoo.
The celebrations began with the match from the children park around Entebbe town and the day was held at St. Mark Church grounds in Entebbe where Jehovah alive for older persons (JAFOA), a Kenyan based NGO offered a free medical checkups and treatment for older person suffering from various alignment with support from Entebbe hospital and katabi military hospital.
One of the older persons named Kiryowa Abner- Ner described who an older person is as a person who has reached the age of 60 years. And they are in different categories thus the educated and the non-educated, the rich and the poor, those who have their own houses and those who rent, those living and alone and those living with other people, those looking after their grand children who are orphans, those of different tribes among others.
He said older persons need to be brought together so that all get helped in their different capacities or in one way or another.
He appreciated the organization for helping in supporting the older persons with in areas of Entebbe. And this support needs a lot of financial assistance which HENU doesn’t have, and requested the Government and the ministry in charge of older persons to please come up and help with any financial assistance they can render.
Prof. Kristin Bodford talked about the health outcome tool survey that is being conducted among the older person’s groups in different communities which focuses on general health status, physical functionality that contains social and daily activities and work activities, emotional / mental functionality, dependency and access to health services. She also appreciated the older persons and individuals who helped in the research that was made to support the implementation of the project.
The Rt. Rev Balaggadde Ssekadde the chairman of the older persons said that Henu is embarking on a noble cause of constructing a modern rehabilitation centre in Buzzi/kawuku katabi sub-county that will help in bringing older persons together to share, discuss and find solutions to the various challenges affecting them because they don’t have a recognized place where they can meet to socialize.
The director of Heath Nest Uganda Mr. Namara Arthur revealed that through the centre, older persons will reconnect with their families and it will also serve as a research centre on issues concerning older persons. He also said that it will serve as intergenerational center where older persons will interact with their generation to share knowledge. And the centre will cost shs. 600m and we are fundraising locally through well-wishers and different communities who can post their contributions on our post bank account, coupons shall be distributed to schools and other organization so as to raise the funds for the noble cause.
He also appreciated the older persons for their support they rendered to the organization in organizing for the celebrations through delivering letters to different organization, companies and individuals in the various neighboring communities. He also thanked the different organization for their network and collaboration toward the success of the celebrations.
He also talked about the redesigning of toilets of older persons in different communities who have difficulties in using the toilets and so far they have redesigned six (6) toilets for older persons.
The chairperson national council for older persons Mr. Orach john appealed to the Hon.Rose Tumusiime the member of parliament Entebbe municipality to ensure that the parliament officially gazettes the international day for older persons. He also lashed out at healthy workers who continuously undermines and show bad attitude towards the older persons when they go to health facilities to seek for medical assistance.
Mr. Orach also talked the need of having a representative of older person in parliament so as to serve as their voice on various challenges they encounter on their day to day life.
The guest of honor Hon. Rose Tumusiime who represented the minister of gender Labour and social development appreciated the Henu leadership for their selflessness in supporting and championing the right of older persons and also thanked the various organizations that have partnered with Henu to ensure that older person to have a chance to live a descent and meaningful life.
She tasked the councilors representing older persons at various local council levels to continue serving as a voice for their fellow older persons. she contributed shs. 500,000 towards the construction of the rehabilitation centre and noted that the proceeds for Entebbe carnival slated to take place in December will go towards the construction of the centre.