TOP News STORY
Museveni cautions older persons against alcohol, smoking
Speaking during the commemoration of the International Day of Older Persons on Thursday at State House, Entebbe, Museveni, advised that part of the role of the Elder’s Council in the country should be to sensitise elders on how to live healthy and also guide the young generation on how to make wealth rather than being spectators.
SOCIAL WELFARE | LIFESTYLE AND HABITS | ELDERLY
President Yoweri Museveni has cautioned older persons against drinking alcohol, smoking and other-related vices that spark-off non-communicable disease attacks, saying that the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) values older persons dearly.
"The NRM government cherishes the precious gift that this country has in its older persons. My father lived up to 97 years. He would have reached 100 years if he had not been smoking all these years. I used to ask him: ‘why are you smoking?' Then he would say that his father bequeathed him the pipe. So, the man, for sure, would have reached 100 years except for smoking which affected his lungs," he said.
Speaking during the commemoration of the International Day of Older Persons on Thursday at State House, Entebbe, Museveni, advised that part of the role of the Elder's Council in the country should be to sensitise elders on how to live healthy and also guide the young generation on how to make wealth rather than being spectators.
"So, the Elders Council working with the Medical Association should list those preventable diseases. These diseases such as diabetes are cause by fatness. If you are fat, the pancreas becomes over-worked. So, these health conditions should be part of the Elder's Council work; get information on how the elders can live well and pass it on," he added.
The President, who was jovial and often punctuated his speech with anecdotes on the supreme role of older persons in society, said over time due to several Government interventions, especially universal immunisation, the life expectancy in the country has jumped from 47 years to now 63 years.
"In the future, indeed, we will have older people," he said.
What do older persons want?
The representatives of the older persons also used the event at State House, Entebbe, to table a number of demands, including the need to quickly enact the Older Persons Bill, 2020, lowering of the age to receive the senior citizen's pay cheque from current 80 years to 60 years and the front-bench prioritization of older persons in the government interventions rolled out to cushion citizens from the devastating COVID19-related challenges.
"Now that the SAGE programme is now present in all the 135 districts, including Kampala Capital, we want to ensure that all older persons are enrolled on the programme to be supported," Sarah Kanyinke, the state minister for disability and elderly noted in her speech, where she called for the lowering of the age for one to receive the government monthly sh25, 000 stipend for older persons from 80 years to 60 years.
The chairperson of the National Council of Older Persons, Canon Joram Tibasiimwa , also aired out similar demands, including rooting or more funding for the elders' council.
However, in his response, Museveni called for patience, noting that some of the demands need careful planning to be implemented.
"Extending the elders' grant to persons aged 60 years is good because that is when most people retire. However, we need more planning. It will be considered when we have the capacity," he said.
The President, however, welcomed the idea of older persons forming saving schemes commonly known as SACCOs, saying that it will ease access to capital rather than going through the notorious financial rigors of commercial banks.
The event was also attended by the deputy of cooperation of the Embassy of Ireland in Uganda, Nicole McHugh, who praised Uganda for its timely handling of the COVID19 infections in the country.