Older persons denounce inaccessibility to health care in Burundi

On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Older Persons, those from Burundi say they don’t have access to health care due to the lack of means. They ask the government to implement free health care policy for older persons.

Elderly persons lack means to seek medical treatment

“I live with my little grandchild. I cannot work anymore because I am very old. I do not receive old-age pension. I only eat when friends, neighbors, relatives or acquaintances give me money. When I get sick, I sleep at home waiting for someone who can bring me some pills, “says a 90-year-old man living in Kamenge area in Ntahangwa municipality in the north of the economic capital Bujumbura.

He asks the President of the Republic to decree a free medical care policy for old persons as he has done for pregnant women and children under 5 years.

Older people living in the center assisting older families and orphans located in Rohero neighborhood, in central Bujumbura face the same problem of lack of access to health care.

A sixty-year old man says his leg was broken in a road accident in 2014. He has been living with an intramedullary nail in his leg for 5 years. He says it hurts him. He wants it to be replaced but he has no means. “I hardly get up because of the great pain it causes me, “he says, arguing that the center which assists them is not able to meet all their needs.

In a statement issued on the eve of the celebration of the International Day of Older Persons, Martin Nivyabandi, Minister of Human Rights, Social Affairs and Gender, said the government has already conducted a study on the feasibility of providing free health care to older persons as recommended by the government.

“We are aware that there are elderly people living in very critical conditions in the country and others who have just been removed from the streets,” he said, adding that the government will do whatever it takes to support older persons.
“The government has also recommended social security institutions to increase old-age pension,” he adds.

The International Day of Older Persons is observed on October 1 each year. On December 14, 1990, the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons as recorded in Resolution 45/106.