The National Policy on Ageing has its root in the Second World Assembly on the ageing which adopted its main outcome document,’ a Political Declaration and Madrid International Plan of Action, 2002; This committed governments to meet the challenges of population and provided the world policy makers with a set of 117 concrete recommendations covering three main priority directions which included, Older persons and development, Maintaining health and well-being into old age and Ensuring enabling and supportive environments for the elderly
The assembly recognized the importance of placing ageing in the context of strategies for eradication of poverty, as well as efforts to achieve full participation of all developing countries in the world economy. Furthermore, the Second World Assembly promoted a new recognition that ageing was not simply an issue of social security and welfare but of overall development and economic policy.
Indeed, this gave Tanzania a challenge to develop a policy on the ageing called “The National Policy on Ageing issued out in September 2003”
As explained earlier, this policy was formulated following the presence of an increase in the number of people in developing countries particularly Tanzania, thus failure to cater for old people’s health, nutrition and other basic services essential for human life. In this case strategies were needed to grant effective services delivery (accommodate and reflect the needs of the elderly in 21st century.
Basing on the United Organization (UN) report (1999), it was estimated an existence of 200 million people aged 60 years and above in 1975 that number increased to 350 million people and expected to reach 625 million people by 2005. It was also expected that by the year 2050 the number of old people will have increased from the present 38 to 212 millions in the Africa alone.
The policy revisits the state of old people as they face a number of problems which include poverty, in adequate health services, pensions and lack of participations in important decisions which in turn affecting national development.
The National ageing policy is a useful guide to the Ministry of Labor, Youth Development and Sports in planning, implementation and evaluation of services delivery to older people.
OBJECTIVES OF THE POLICY
The National ageing policy aim among other things to meet different objectives as shown below:
• The major objectives of this policy among others are; to insure that older people are recognized provided with basic services and accorded the opportunity to fully participate in the daily life of the community.
• It also aims to create a conducive environment for the provision of basic service to the old people.
• To allocate resource for older people’s income generation activities and their welfare.
• To initiate and sustain programs that provides people with opportunity to participate in economic development initiatives.
• To create a conducive environment for the provision of basic services to the older people.
• To prepare strategies and programs geared towards elimination of negative attitude and age discrimination.
• It also aims to enact laws that promotes and protects the welfare of old people.
LEGAL FRAME WORK PROCESS
The National ageing policy was counterchecked by the human rights as stipulated in the Tanzanians constitutions of 1977 as amended in 1984 and 1995 respectively. Moreover the policy has taken into consideration the UN declaration Act No. 46 of 1991.
The government has collaborated with Ministry of Health and Social welfare, Ministry of Constitution and Legal Affairs, Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, United Nations Organizations, donors, Help Age International and different local expertise to find out the proper solutions to deal with these problems before the researchers, investors and various commissions come up with idea of The National Ageing Policy as a solution to elderly people.
THE STRENGTHS/ACHIEVEMENT OF THE POLICY
The National Higher Ageing Policy has substantively managed to achieve its set goals since its commencement some of these achievements include,
• The policy has managed to identify strategies for improving the welfare of old people like participation in adult education training programs to cement skills necessary in their day to day life. This has made potential with the formation of Tanzania knowledge Network (TAKNET)
• The policy has influenced the formulation of older people’s councils “Baraza la wazee” which in a sense is geared up in village, ward, district, regional and national level, through this council older people meet to discuss their concerned affairs.
• The government has established registration agencies which have full mandate to monitor all the activities (through ministry) in which registration of older people’s organizations does not constitute a license to operate.
• The policy has managed to identify root cause of the problems that confront old people more especially lack of opportunity in making decisions, excessive poverty, and inadequate care such as lonely and being unprotected as well as plausible measures to address the trend.
• There has been much concern on older people more especially those living in rural-urban areas, retirees, peasants, headsmen and fishermen to excel their daily needs.
• The National Employment Policy is inculcating people into the culture of self reliance through diligent and hard work.
• It also identifies special groups which require special treatment while seeking employment and covers also the question of unavailability correct data on the supply and demand of labor.
• The policy stipulates the need of having employment promotion and provision of consultancy services.
• The policy enabled the government to put many efforts in promotion of employment by formulating Agricultural policy, expansion of education in the country, initiation of Vocation Education and Training program etc.
THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE POLICY
Since Ageing is a cross cutting issue, the implementation of this policy involve the role of stakeholders such as, Central Government, Local Government Authorities, Families and Villages Voluntary Agencies,.
Central Government. Supervision and coordination of services provided to older people, ensuring that older people participate in the community, encouraging local government authorities and voluntary agencies to take responsibility of providing care and support to older people.
Local Government Authorities. Providing care and protection for older people in the community and institutions ensure the provision of basic needs for older people, sensitization the community on issues related to older people and their participation in the national development.
Families and Villages. In collaboration with Local Government Authorities, their role is to provide care and protection to older people and participate in income generation activities for the older people.
Voluntary Agencies. In collaboration with Local Government Authority, their role is to conduct Older People’s needs assessment, provision of basic needs like adult education to older people.
In Tanzania a lot has yet to be done on the part of the Government to ensure provision of free and quality health services to all older people. The accessibility of healthcare, adult education for older people all hinge around the organizing and mobilizing of older people and their communities to stimulate an engaging demand for quality health and education services; sensitizing service providers and health facility officials to positively respond to the health rights of older people and ensuring that the local government plans and budgets have resources for enabling appropriate lasting health services to older people and their families. It is the role of government assisted by other organizations and the whole communities to take part in enhancing better life to older people.
Courtney from Study Moose
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