A ceremony to observe the International Day of Older Persons that will fall on 1 October was held at Myanmar International Convention Centre II, Nay Pyi Taw, yesterday morning.
The ceremony was attended by Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than, Deputy Speaker U Aye Tha Aung, Union Ministers Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, Dr. Win Myat Aye, Nai Thet Lwin, Hluttaw Affairs Committee chairmen, heads of departments, resident representatives of United Nations organisations, foreign ambassadors in Myanmar, outstanding and honored older persons, invited guests and officials.
At the ceremony, Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr. Win Myat Aye said Myanmar, as well as the world, is facing changes in population demography. The ratio of older persons has increased in comparison to the past. In Myanmar, the percentage of older persons who are 60 years and above was 6 per cent in 1973 and 6.4 per cent in 1983. It increased up to 8.9 per cent in 2014. Along with the increase came challenges. It is understood that it is important to change the challenges to an opportunity.
Our Myanmar society has a long history of honoring and respecting older persons. Traditionally, three generations, father-son-grandson (mother-daughter-granddaughter), live and care for each other. But due to changing social and economic situation, the tradition of grandparents, parents and children living and caring for each other is decreasing and disappearing. The traditional way of caring for older persons is no longer covering all older persons. In addition to the family caring for older persons, other community-based elderly person care and day care of older persons need to be widely practised.
Older persons in our country face insufficient income and health care problems as well as living an isolated and lonely life. With an aim to support income security of older persons, the government started a social pension program, a financial support system, starting from fiscal year 2017-2018. When it was started, the beneficiaries were set to be older persons 90 years and above, but starting from fiscal year 2018-2019, it was reduced to 85 years and above. In the initial plan, there were 43,439 beneficiaries to social pension and this will be increased up to 140,000 with the new plan. Relevant ministries are to strive toward implementing the older person health care as per older person rights, enacted in the Older Persons Law. Health care for older person is not only normal and traditional health care but also long-term care and for those who do not need this, a prevention-from-long-term care said, the Union Minister.
The theme of this year’s International Day of Older Persons is “Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions.”
Next, message of United Nations Secretary General was read by UNDP resident representative and humanitarian coordinator Mr. Knut Ostby. Afterwards, sector-wise outstanding older persons and honored older persons were presented with honorary documents by Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than, Deputy Speaker U Aye Tha Aung and Union Minister Dr. Win Myat Aye. Union Minister Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, Union Minister Nai Thet Lwin, Nay Pyi Taw Council member U Aung Myin Tun, Pyithu Hluttaw health and sports development committee chairman Dr. San Shwe Win, Amyotha Hluttaw women and children affairs committee chairman Dr. Tin Tin Win, Myanmar Human Rights Commission Chairman U Win Mra and Help Age International (Myanmar) Country Director Mr. God Fred Paul presented medicine and cash donations.
Representatives from Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Ministry of Electricity and Energy, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Health and Sports, Myanmar Women’s Affairs Federation (MWAF), Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association (MMCWA), Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) and Help Age International then donated cash, which was accepted by Union Minister Dr. Win Myat Aye, who in return presented documents of honor.
Following the singing of a song in honor of the older persons, showing of a video depicting care of older persons in Myanmar, care of older persons by older person group chairperson herself, being an older person saying words of thanks, the ceremony came to a close.
After the ceremony, Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Union Ministers and guests observed the photo display, showing older person care conducted by ministries, MWAF, MMCWA, MRCS, Help Age International, states and regions.
At the ceremony, outstanding older persons and honored older persons were each presented with Ks 100,000 and Ks 50,000 respectively, as well as gifts, it is learnt. — MNA