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Oct 1, 2015

5-year Plan Released to Address Challenges of Older Population

In this side of the world, the population is ageing rapidly and living longer and countries are signing on to the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons.  The National Council of Ageing, for its part, released a five-year plan which sets out strategies to address the many challenges facing the older population. Duane Moody for News Five reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

On the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons, celebrated annually on October first, the National Council of Ageing launched its five-year strategic plan for 2015 through to 2019. The event was held in collaboration with the Pan American health Organization, the World Health Organization and the Government of Belize through the Ministry of human Development. The plan is to guide the organization and partner agencies with the way forward for the rights of older persons.

 

Ix-Chel Poot

Ix-Chel Poot, Programme Officer, National Council on Ageing

“It’s a plan that outlines six strategic objectives and it is really what the National Council on Ageing hopes to achieve over the next five to ten years in the development of the ageing population. So the plan talks about financial security, planning for old age, it talks about housing; it talks about emergency preparedness. But it also talks about bringing together key stakeholders across government and civil society in implementing the strategic plan.”

 

Worldwide, life expectancy of older persons continues to rise. By 2020, the number of persons sixty years and older will outnumber children young than five years. PAHO Rep in Belize, Doctor Roberto Escoto spoke of the factors contributing to extended lives of older persons.

 

Roberto Escoto

Dr. Roberto Escoto, Representative, PAHO/WHO

“Today, eight percent of older people be living in low and middle income countries. As you can see the pace of population ageing is much faster than in the past. People are living longer meaning this is the century of elderly.”

 

The National Council of Ageing is a unit of the Ministry of Human Development that is tasked with the coordination and implementation of advocacy measures for elderly persons. While sixty percent of Belize’s population makes up the youth population, Minister Anthony “Boots” Martinez spoke of strengthen of policy to provide holistic services to older persons.

 

Anthony “Boots” Martinez

Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Human Development

“It is an indicator that the organization is clear on what it wants to accomplish and is thinking ahead. It is very important of all organizations to take stock of the work that they are doing and look back at what they have achieved to see if it has been effective and to strive even further for improvement in the future. Therefore, I commend the National Council of Ageing in this mini strategic plan that will guide their work for the next five years. It is clear that greater consideration must be given to strengthen policies and expanding programs to provide holistic services to older persons and an enabling environment where they can live with dignity. We must always be strategic as we tackle all areas of national development but more so in this subsector. And that is why this strategic plan is so important.”

 

The event was also used to discuss the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons.

 

Ix-Chel Poot

“This region of the world is the part that is experiencing the largest rate of population ageing. It is estimated that by 2020, we are going to have one in ten of our persons in this region being older persons. So the convention looks at how as a people we are protecting those rights of older persons. It covers things like healthcare, right to dignity in life, right to employment because there are certain areas where as you hit that retirement age, it evaporates. And also even in Belize there are older persons who experience challenges in accessing finances and resources that they need simply because they are older.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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