…and also to people living with disability
By Phurpa Wangmo
In line with the government’s commitment to narrow the gap and to promote people-centered health services with care and compassion, the Ministry of Health (MoH) launched the packages for the elderly population coinciding with the International Day for Older Persons on Friday.
Priority Signage for 65 years and above and people living with disability will be displayed in all the health facilities across the country. This will facilitate the older people 65 years and above and people living with disability to access health services on priority.
The handbook will be issued to all the older people who visit the health facilities. This handbook will be used to document all medical conditions, treatment, any home bound care needs and follow up checkups.
In addition to the launch of the two critical interventions outlined above, with the guidance from the Health Minister and unwavering commitment from the Prime Minister, the month of October will be declared as the month of older people.
Prime Minister Doctor Lotay Tshering in his statement said: “As the Ministry of Health launches programs for the older persons coinciding with the day, I would like to share that it is not the service we are offering but a responsibility we all must shoulder, not just today but for every day.”
Lyonchhen added that just as His Majesty the King keeps them close to the heart with special care and benevolence, we must also do our part to hold the wrinkling hands who have held ours since the beginning.
“Let us pledge to be the cane that will prop them with strength and pride until the end.”
Throughout October, the health screening for various NCDs will be supplemented with the assessment of mental health conditions amongst older people. This is timely and highly relevant as there are growing occurrences of mental health illnesses amongst the elderly population along with an anticipated rise in the incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases.
MoH Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo in her statement said: “Elderly people are respected in Bhutan, the role of a parent to bring up a child is highlighted in the commonphrase that we often use “drenchengi Pham” which undoubtedly indicates the responsibilities that we must shoulder to take care of our ageing family”.
Specific to the intervention introduced, MoH Minister said this is a small initiative towards the promotion of healthy ageing in Bhutan.
MoH Director Department of Medical Services said that with the approach to provide holistic healthcare services, the MoH has been improving their services for older people including the easy accessibility, timely treatment and quality of life.
October has been declared as the month of older people and health screening for non-communicable diseases will be conducted along with assessment of mental health for the elderly population throughout the month.
Acording to the health ministry these major initiatives have been undertaken to promote healthy ageing, enhance person centered care across all ages, and address health needs of our older population.
Dr Rui Paulo de Jesus, WHO Representative also read the message from Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region which states that all older people must be empowered to fulfil their potential and live with dignity and equality in a healthy environment.
“WHO will continue to support Member States of the Region to achieve this outcome and accelerate progress on the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing priorities – creating age-friendly environments, combating ageism, and strengthening the provision of integrated and long-term care,” the statement read.
78-year-old Thinley Lham said that earlier when she visit to hospital, she have to wait in queue but from last year she experienced that elderly people were given preference to visit Doctor first. “With these service, I think we will get the better services and hope that elder people are prioritized more than earlier,” added Thinley.
Likewise, 74-year-old Kinga said that he didn’t know that international day of elder persons was celebrated till date but with the launched and services rendered by MoH, he hopes that this service would benefit all the elders around the country .
MoH strongly believes in enhancing person centered care across all ages and is committed to fully addressing the health needs of our older population.
Meanwhile, as part of the celebrations the end of the first day of the month of older people saw more than 1100 elderly persons throughout the nation screened for various health issues.
According to MoH the health screenings will continue throughout the month and includes screening for various non-communicable diseases and an assessment of mental health in response to the growing occurrences of mental health illness and incidences of non-communicable diseases among the elderly population.
MoH said it is committed to enhancing person centered care across all ages and addressing the health needs of our older population.