On-line petition for the allocation of public health care to the elderly


Amman, Dec.10 (Petra) – In collaboration with HelpAge International, the National Follow-up Committee on the Implementation of the National Strategy for Senior Citizens and the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ),  the Older People’s Social Committee launched an on-line petition to advocate for more support for the elderly in obtaining better health services.

Khalil Moqbel, member of the Older People’s Social Committee, said that the petition holds within it different forms of the fundamental rights that should be provided to the elderly by their families and members of their local community, most notably health care and the improvement of health services, which are a top priority and among the fundemntal rights of the elderly. Being a key segment of society and of great value on so many levels, Moqbel noted that the elderly should receive the support of all sectors of society in obtaining services and facilities that would provide them with a decent life and help them overcome all the obstacles they encounter.

He explained that the petition raised questions including why an elderly person has to stand in a long queue and go through a great effort to obtain necessary health care and services, why special pathways are not dedicated for people over the age of 60 in all hospitals and health centres, why there are no caregivers around to help them obtain health services, and why can’t we have geriatric physicians for older people?

However, it is to be noted in this context that the National Strategy for Senior Citizens for the year 2017 prepared by NCFA in cooperation with members of the strategy’s follow-up committee addresses the important issue of providing preventive and curative healthcare to senior citizens as one of its key pillars, particularly since health represents a major challenge for this group. The strategy also emphasizes the importance of updating elderly-related surveys, especially with regard to chronic diseases associated with older people.

In keeping with these priorities, HelpAge International prepared a set of studies and surveys specialized in health requirements, including a health needs assessment study prepared in cooperation with the Centre for Strategic Studies in four governorates (Amman, Zarqa, Mafraq and Irbid) last September with a sample of 1,700 people participating. Key findings showed that 47.6% of the elderly do not have health insurance, and 65% of those who visit healthcare facilities report that they have to wait for long periods of time, while 34% reported their difficulty in obtaining healthcare services.

The petition is part of an advocacy campaign titled "My Care My Right" launched on April 5th with a vision to improve the level of healthcare and services provided for elderly men and women. The campaign is supervised by the Social Committee for Older People which is an elected committee formed in response to the need for having a point of contact and liaison that connects decision-makers with service providers and the elderly. The main goal of the campaign is to meet the needs of the elderly in Jordan as concluded in the assessment study conducted by HelpAge International in this regard last year.