29th October 2020
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Provide access to health, pensions, social protection for older persons – UN

Authors: Daniel Danis | Okot Emmanuel | Published: Thursday, October 1, 2020

File: Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General. PHOTO//Getty images

The UN Secretary-General has called for the prioritization of the needs of older people, such as their rights and well-being during the coronavirus pandemic.

Antonio Guterres said countries must expand opportunities and increase access to health, pensions and social protection for older persons.

He made the remarks today on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons.

“As we seek to recover better together, we must make concerted efforts across the Decade of Healthy Ageing 2020-2030 to improve the lives of older persons, their families and communities,” he said.

The UN chief urged governments across the world to build more inclusive and age-friendly societies by listening to suggestions and ideas from older people.

“We must also examine how the pandemic might change how we address age and ageing in our societies,” Guterres asserted.

He stated that the potential of older persons is a powerful basis for sustainable development.

The International Day of Older Persons is observed every year on October 1.

It is an opportunity to highlight the important contributions that older people make to society and raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges of ageing in today’s world.

The theme of the 2020 commemoration is “Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?”.

“This year’s observance falls as the world is also marking the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, which highlights the vital role of health and social workers, such as nurses and midwives, in responding to the pandemic,” Mr. Guterres affirmed.

He noted that the majority of health workers are women, including many older persons.

“These are the people who devote their lives to our care, and to the care of older persons, mothers and children, and deserve far greater support,” he stressed.

This year’s theme aims at inform participants about the strategic objectives for the Decade of Healthy Ageing; Raise awareness of the special health needs of older persons and of their contributions to their own health and to the functioning of the societies in which they live.

It also seeks to increase awareness and appreciation of the role of the health care workforce in maintaining and improving the health of older persons, with special attention to the nursing profession; Present proposals for reducing the health disparities between older persons in the developed and developing countries, so as to “Leave no one behind”.

The statement further strives to increase understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on older persons and its impact on health care policy, planning, and attitudes.

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