Malawi Network of Elderly Person’s Organisations (Manepo) has bemoaned abuse and exploitation of elderly persons, urging government to put in place laws to safeguard the rights of the elderly in the country.
Manepo national coordinator Andrew Kavala said this during the commemoration of the World Elderly Abuse Awareness Day held in Lilongwe yesterday.
He said his organisation will strive to raise awareness against the abuse of elderly persons, which is growing at an alarming rate.
Said Kavala: “We want to discuss with the Law Commission and other relevant authorities to take on board laws that will improve the welfare of the elderly.
“That [enactment of relevant laws] will help to stop these cases of abuse of elderly persons . In the absence of the law, we cannot raise much awareness against the abuse of elderly persons. We want all Malawians to know that it is bad to abuse elderly persons in whatever ways.”
Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare programmes officer Steven Vinkhumbo said government will ensure that the elderly are protected.
He said: “We are calling on the public to take action and to stop the abuse of the elderly. We have radio programmes in which we disseminate information regarding elderly people’s rights and we also conduct community sensitisation meetings where we tell the elderly their rights.”
A representative of the elderly persons at the function, Samson Moya, said he is one of victims of such abuse as people call him a witch.
He said even when he falls sick and visits a clinic or hospital, he is treated unfairly.
In this regard, Moya appealed to Malawians to stop the malpractice, saying it is not Malawian to abuse the elderly.
The day is commemorated every year on June 15 with the aim of to providing communities around the world the opportunity to better understand the abuse and neglect of elderly persons.