Of­fi­cials look to for­mu­late na­tional pol­icy on age­ing

The Myanmar Times - - News - HTIKE NANDA WIN news­room@mm­times.com

THE Min­istry of So­cial Wel­fare, Re­lief and Re­set­tle­ment hosted an event this week in Yan­gon aimed at draft­ing a na­tional pol­icy for a grow­ing con­tin­gent of those over 60 years old.

One in ev­ery 11 Myan­mar ci­ti­zens is el­derly, the min­istry’s deputy di­rec­tor gen­eral Daw San San Aye said. Im­prove­ments need to be made in all sec­tors – in­clud­ing health­care, and the so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal are­nas – as that ra­tio grows, she said. The min­istry con­sulted with el­derly peo­ple, rel­e­vant de­part­ments and oldage homes, she added.

Like other coun­tries in South­east Asia, the num­ber of el­derly peo­ple in Myan­mar is in­creas­ing rapidly, hav­ing nearly quadru­pled over the past 60 years due to smaller fam­i­lies and im­proved life ex­pectancy, ac­cord­ing to a 2014 re­port from the United Na­tions Pop­u­la­tion Fund (UNFPA).

That growth is ex­pected to ac­cel­er­ate over the next four decades: By 2030, the per­cent­age of el­derly peo­ple – de­fined as those over the age of 60 – is ex­pected to jump from 9 per­cent to 15pc, ac­cord­ing to UN data, and by 2050, one-quar­ter of the coun­try’s ci­ti­zens may be el­derly.

More than 4.7 mil­lion of Myan­mar’s 52 mil­lion peo­ple are over the age of 60, ac­cord­ing to pop­u­la­tion data from 2015-16.

At­ten­dees of the Novem­ber 21 work­shop dis­cussed the chal­lenges of age­ing.

“Age­ing pol­icy is for ev­ery­one,” said HelpAge In­ter­na­tional’s Myan­mar coun­try di­rec­tor God­fred Paul. “Ev­ery­one is age­ing. Peo­ple who were born to­day have started age­ing. This coun­try needs to have an age­ing pol­icy.”

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