Malawi Network of Elderly Persons Organisations (MANEPO) has appealed to health facilities in the country to provide special care, treatment and support to the elderly persons living with HIV after observing that the elderly face a lot of stigma and discrimination when accessing health and other social services.
MANEPO programmes Officer, Nitike Ngwira, made the call on Friday at Traditional Authority Nkagula’s area in Zomba during an interface meeting with elderly clubs.
Ngwira said most elderly persons face stigma and discrimination when they are living with HIV or affected in one way or another. She added this is the reason MANEPO decided to sensitize the elderly on their right to health care.
She therefore appealed to health workers to provide deserving care to the elderly that are living with HIV and suffer from Aids related illness.
Ngwira also observed that some elderly persons are HIV positive while others keep orphans that are living with HIV but lack care and support.
“These elderly people lack support to care for themselves plus the orphans that’re living with HIV, ” MANEPO programmes officer said, adding that this was the reason MANEPO facilitated the establishment of Active Aging Clubs and association to advocacy platforms for the elderly.
She therefore called on young people to desist from violence and abuse against the elderly saying the elderly are entitled to adequate care, support, protection and due respect.
MANEPO oriented health workers at Makwapala and Naisi Health Centers on how they should treat and care for their elderly.
An official from Zomba District Health Office, Alinafe Sankhulani, also observed that most elderly persons suffer from noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension because they’re subjected to stigma and discrimination in form of denial to care, treatment and support in their society.
Sankhulani added that the elderly therefore deserve regular medical checkups to detect diseases.
Rose Wasili from Group Village Headman Makungula in T/A Nkagula said she belongs to an Active Aging Club which support elderly persons with basic human needs.
She asked government and other humanitarian organisations to build houses for the elderly and support them with other materials to sustain their livelihood.
MANEPO is implementing a two year project to provide care and treatment to the elderly in Traditional Authority Nkagula.
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