Age Demands Action and free medical cards in Sudan
On 18 October, we celebrated the UN International Day of Older Persons and Age Demands Action in Khartoum, Sudan. The celebration was organised in the social and cultural centre for older people in Omdurman.
With us were senior officials from the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security, Humanitarian Aid Commission, officials from Karari Locality and older people's committees, as well as large numbers of older men and women, young people and children.
Literacy classes, photo exhibition and free medical insurance cards
The guest of honour was Dr Rada Mohamed, the Director of Programmes at the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security and the representative of the Ministry's Undersecretary.
At the event there were several activities such as a photo exhibition and literacy classes, as well as speeches, comedy shows and traditional songs. HelpAge also provided 40 older people and their families with medical insurance cards. The cards will enable older people and their families to access some free medication and other medicines with a 90% discount.
Mohamed Khair, who is part of the older people's committee, gave a speech at the event. He referred to the large numbers of older people who benefitted from health, education and legal aid activities at various centres, schools and health units thanks to support from HelpAge, the Sudanese Society in Care of Older People (SSCOP), the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) and European Community.
He said: "Large numbers of older people have benefited from income generating activities and are now enjoying regular income that helps them support their families."
We must benefit from older people's skills and experience
Bedreldin Shuatta, HelpAge's County Director in Sudan made a speech in which he referred to our new joint report with UNFPA; "Ageing in the Twenty-First Century: A Celebration and A Challenge". He highlighted the challenges that the world's ageing population raised, saying: "We need to include older people in all our future plans to benefit from their experiences and skills. We must be fully aware that longevity is shaping the future".
"An Older People's Act will provide various benefits for older people in Sudan and will help them claim their rights," said Dr Rada Ali Saeed, from the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security.
She noted that an Older People's Act, that HelpAge and the National Older People's Committee is pushing for, has been submitted to the Cabinet for approval. She also added that the act is a great step in the efforts to safeguard older people rights and entitlements in Sudan.