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September 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Fiji’s Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation is currently drafting a National Council for Older Persons Decree to provide an inclusive environment for the elderly in Fiji.

Ministry permanent secretary Govind Sami in his opening address at the national stakeholders’ workshop in Suva said the decree will protect the rights of older persons in the country.

The workshop sought the partnership of senior government officials and non-government organisations in drawing up a framework for the implementation of Fiji’s National Ageing Policy (2011-2015).

The National Council for Older Persons Decree (NCOP) will be an umbrella grouping of all affiliated groups to provide the framework for the policy.

 “In the next couple of years, nothing will impact the world economies more profoundly than demographic trends and chief among them, ageing. The number of people in the old age category is increasing rapidly. In next 20 years people aged 60 years and above, worldwide is projected to outnumber children,” said Sami.

The Policy has 4 major goals to inculcate an inclusive and enabling environment for the elderly.

“The goals include the recognition of the contribution of older persons to social, cultural economic and political sectors of the society, strengthening the social assistance for older persons, healthy living and creating a supportive environment for the elderly.

Sami said the Ministry on its part is seeing if we can introduce an old age pension for those people who spend all their lives in the informal sector and have lived all their lives in sugarcane farms or in dalo farming but don’t have access to Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) services. So we are working with ministry of finance in this area.

He said the framework will also look at improving health services for the elderly in Fiji.

Special Administrator for Lami Town Council Jasper Singh said city plans should consider age friendly facilities.

By Ropate Valemei

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