Mama Rachel, 78, Cameroon


I am a widow living in rural Cameroon. My age means my daily life is not at all easy.

During the pandemic, isolation made things so much worse: I could not go out, go to the hospital, or even see my grandchildren, family and friends. I couldn’t go out to buy food and medicine.

The national response left us behind. We older people were seen as useless and did not get enough help while other groups were given face masks, medicines, food, disinfectants, soap, water, easy to understand information.

When I became ill, I struggled to make my way to the hospital because I was coughing so badly. I also have diabetes and high blood pressure. Yet the nurse at the entrance told me not to come in and to go back to the traditional healer.I was denied seeing my loved ones, denied healthcare and denied information, just because I am older.

We must urgently eradicate ageism from our society so that we can live a decent life with all our human rights.

I am a member of ACAMAGE, an NGO that promotes and defends the rights of older people in Cameroon. Organizations like ACAMAGE and HelpAge are helping us come together to expose and challenge ageism during the pandemic and beyond.

We must campaign to call on our government, politicians, officials to eradicate ageism from our system by changing attitudes and putting in place a law against age discrimination.

Older people have potential. We count and we must enjoy all human rights in a dignified life.

The drafting of the UN Convention on older people must begin without delay. The time is ripe.

Story by Paulette Metang, ACAMAGE