As Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day of older persons, the Minister of State for the Elderly and the Disabled Sarah Kanyike has said that in the forthcoming general elections, the elderly and disabled Special Interest Group will have five representatives in Parliament.
“These Members will be representing women and raising voices of older persons in Parliament, four from each region of East, West, North and Central, and one general female representative,” she said.
The day’s event will scientifically be held at State House Entebbe on October 1, under the theme ‘upholding the Rights of Older Persons during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Call for Action’.
“This theme provides an opportunity for the government and stakeholders to reflect on the rights and needs of older persons as we respond to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Kanyike said.
Addressing the press at Uganda Media Centre on Wednesday, she revealed that the platform in Parliament will be substantiated by the National Council for Older Persons and Other Councils for Older Persons.
“Since 2016, the government has provided for structures for older persons from village to national level. These structures have provided for representation of older persons in district councils and the constitution of the National Council for Older Persons at national level,” she added.
Kanyike also revealed that the Ministry just completed the national rollout of the Senior Citizens Grant payments, under the Social Assistance Grants Empowerment (SAGE) which had been interrupted by the Covid-19 lockdown.
“The Ministry is going ahead to reach out to older persons who missed out on the mass enrollment and subsequently could not access the Grant. Through the home based enrollment exercise currently ongoing, we believe every older person will be reached and served,” she said.
She added: “Communities throughout the country and around the world use this day to raise awareness of the Rights of Older Persons tasking stakeholders to promote the safety and well-being of the elderly.”
The SAGE Programme is now present in all the 135 districts, including Kampala Capital City.
She noted that, in line with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health, the SAGE scheme has reworked its registration and payment processes to ensure that older persons receive their grants without being exposed to the risk of contracting the coronavirus.
“Accordingly, when they come for these payments, older persons are expected to observe the following; Come wearing masks, observe social distancing and avoid congregating, wash hands with soap on site and take temperature measurements. This round of payments will support older persons to cope with the impacts of the Covid-19 lockdown,” Kanyike noted.
Kanyike further called upon stakeholders to continuously and at all times uphold the rights of older persons.