By Shadrack Nyakoe
The government of Kenya on October 2 marked the International Day for Older Persons with the theme, “Pandemic: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing.”
This is the day set to appreciate and celebrate senior citizens’ achievements.
It’s also a call-to-action for government, organization and individuals to create awareness about issues affecting older persons such as neglect, a abandonment, violence and exploitation and the dreadful Covid-19 pandemic.
Sad incidences have been reported by the media in coastal regions and some parts of Kisii counties where old people were named witches and suffered extreme violence by the community and section of families giving relevance the department of social protection.
The ministry of labour and social protection has come up with a rescue centre in Mwea Kirinyaga county where assaulted or neglected may find refuge and care.
The government has put in place policies and interventions that help reduce their vulnerabilities.
This follows a report on dailies that people under higher risk of contracting Covid-19 is old people with preexisting medical conditions.
The pandemic has enlighten underlying structural weaknesses cutting across sustainable development goals on poverty eradication, good health, education, income, water and sanitation.
The CS for Labour and Social Protection Simon Chelugui said the government of Kenya, in collaboration with its development partners commits to actively continue implementing programs and interventions that address the plight of the elderly citizenry in our country.
At the same time, CS Simon Chelugui launched a Baseline Survey Report of Kenya’s Inua Jamii 70 years and above Cash Transfer programme which aims at improving the lives of the poor and vulnerable in the society.
The cash transfer programme covers 70 years and over who are not in receipt of a civil service or social security pension.
“Formulation of policies and the enactment of laws and regulations based on evidence- based programming is crucial. It is also important that Social Protection and Older Persons programmes be informed by research conducted regularly by credible national and international institutions. This will assist the Government and stakeholders though the data made available to identify urgent policy gaps, design feasible policy interventions, and implement, monitor and evaluate those interventions.
Let me take this opportunity to appreciate the technical and financial support we received from HelpAge International-Kenya, World Food Programme (WFP), International Labour Organization(ILO), United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF), Development Pathways, London School of Tropical Medicine and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics KNBS) in the development of this baseline survey report,” he said.
Beneficiaries acquire Kenya Shillings 2,000 per month.
Currently a total 833,000 senior citizens benefits on the Inua Jamii cash transfer programme.
Cs Chelugui said an additional kshs.10 billion has been set apart by the government to cushion elderly, orphans and other vulnerable households from adverse effects of Covid-19.