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Regional News Mon, 7 Jul 2014

Agona East MP supports aged

The aged in the Agona East Constituency in the Central Region have been screened for Alzheimer’s disease, a condition prevalent among the aged which prevents the brain from functioning normally and leads to loss of memory and of the ability to speak among other such conditions. Participants were also registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Miss Queenstar Pokua Sawyerr, who organised the medical exercises in communities across the constituency, also provided a total of 1300 mosquito bed nets and take-away to aged and disabled persons in those communities.

The MP, who doubles as the Deputy Central Regional Minister, said at the various events that the healthcare of the aged in society should not be overlooked because it was their toil that had prepared the ground for the current generation to improve their lives.

She, therefore, called on society to ensure that negative perceptions regarding the aged such as witchcraft were eliminated, stressing that “most of us active today may find ourselves in that same situation tomorrow.”

At Agona Kwanyako, one of the communities that benefited from the screening and the donation of the bednets and food last Friday, the MP and the Minister for Gender and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, helped officials from the National Health Insurance Authority to register the aged persons with the NHIS.

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According to Mrs Pokua Sawyerr, she is determined to ensure that the aged in her constituency were well and happy so she is introducing a mechanism to ensure that the birthdays of the various aged and disabled persons were tracked so she could celebrate with them on such occasions, saying “ it is not right to wait for death to strike before we celebrate our aged persons.”

Nana Oye Lithur praised the efforts of Ms Pokua Sawyerr and noted that the Gender ministry was collaborating with the NHIA to register persons 65 years and above, as well as the disabled free of charge with the NHIS.

She said the biometric cards that would enable such people to access health care were processed instantly.

“As a social democratic government, we are committed to ensuring that persons who, through hard work and sacrifices, have got us, as a nation, to where we are today need to be recognised and captured under the social protection net,” she said.

She said the programme, which commenced in the Greater Accra Region a couple of weeks ago, has so far registered some 3500 aged and disabled persons, adding that the Agona East was the first district in the Central Region to have benefitted from the programme. The Gender Minister noted that the programme would be rolled out in other parts of the country so that a lot more aged and disabled persons could benefit.

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Under the programme, the Ministry is also providing lunch for the beneficiaries at the various registration centres.

A beneficiary of the East event, Opanyin Nsiah, 75, was full of praise for the initiative. He recounted that when the scheme changed to the biometric cards, the queues at the registration centres automatically discouraged the aged persons from renewing their cards.

“I knew we were going to die as we cannot endure the crowd at the registration centres. Transport fare to and from the centre was another challenge. But here I am, they provided us with free transport, food and water,” he recounted, as he displayed his new NHIS biometric card.

Source: Graphic.com.gh