Challenges Facing the Aged Population

Kenya, like many other Sub-Saharan African countries is facing an expanding ageing population. Kenya has about 2 million people over 65 years of age in a population of around 40 million. They represent about 3.8% of the total population. There are slightly more women than men. This is has presented an unprecedented challenge for Kenya which has no long-term care government policy or any public insurance scheme for older people and access to private health insurance is very limited. Traditionally, families are expected to take care of their old members but this has greatly changed and many aged people are neglected, abused and have no medical care.

Evidence shows that abuse of the older persons has been on the rise in Kenya with the most common form of abuse being physical. Notably, rural areas have the highest prevalence of such cases. Stories of older people being declared witches and being burnt to death have dominated the public domain from time to time.

The elderly usually find themselves disenfranchised and abused at societal cultural levels and in socio-economic and political activities. They are often victims of theft, sexual abuse and are sometimes forcefully stripped of their belongings, e.g. cattle, land, previous investments like houses and movable assets.

For these reasons, our foundation is committed to supporting welfare activities for older persons as a matter of urgency and priority. Our old age home will rescue such aged people and will take care of them to restore their dignity. They will be fed and offered medical attention and a place to live in a safe and a clean home.

 

The problem of female genital mutilation.

The problem of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) among communities in Kenya continues unabated despite  government legislation, religious influence, education and awareness. According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Surveys (KDHS) 2018/2019, on average, 27% of females, some as young as 7 years old, had undergone FGM. FGM is considered an important problem from both public health and ethical perspectives. It violates the essential principles of medical ethics and human rights. Communities that practice FGM report a range of social and religious reasons for continuing with the practice. Our foundation will critically examine the complexity behind the practice of FGM, why it is still practiced by some communities despite the risks it imposes on women, and the ethical issues surrounding the practice with a view to rescuing girls who are victims or at risk of undergoing the cut and provide  a holistic solution to the problem.  We shall educate communities on importance of stopping this barbaric cultural practice, support the girls to get an education, seek treatment and offer counseling services to the victims. This intervention will also ensure that young girls are not offered for marriage to older men as well.

Image by Raphael Nogueira