Friday, September 22, 2017

Policy for elderly citizens in the works

A policy addressing the rights, health, security and economic well-being of Myanmar’s elderly will be issued next year, according to the Department of Social Welfare.

Speaking on October 1 at a ceremony in Nay Pyi Taw commemorating the International Day for Older Persons, U Aung Kyaw Moe, director of the Department of Social Welfare, said his staff are currently drafting the policy in consultation with the input of local associations, NGOs and elderly citizens.

“Now is the first stage,” he said. “[Today], there will be a meeting where we will discuss our initial work and develop the next steps.”

Separately, the Elders Draft Law is currently under discussion in the hluttaw. Among other things, if passed, it will criminalise the exploitation of the elderly.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, U Thein Swe, Minister for Labour, Immigration and Population, said that the draft law was intended to improve the health, well-being and care provided to the elderly, in accordance with Myanmar traditions.

“The state will cooperate with local associations or NGOs which work with older people in order to improve their quality of life and prevent discrimination and mistreatment,” Union Minister U Thein Swe said.

Currently, the Department of Social Welfare manages around 80 aged care facilities, which care for more than 2700 elderly people. They also provide rice, clothes and welfare payments to aged people according to the last federal budget.

Around 4.75 million people, or just over 9 percent of the population, are more than 60 years old. According to figures from the WHO, life expectancy in Myanmar is only 65 years.

Translation by Khine Thazin Han