Myanmar to draft by-law protecting elders

Ei Thinzar Kyaw
Elderly people seen at a home for the aged. (Photo-EMG)

As the Elders Law has been approved and enacted by the Union Parliament since December 30 last year, the by-law will be drafted, according to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

Myanmar has 81 homes for the aged to accommodate elderly people, while the Department of Social Welfare under the ministry also runs a day-care centre for elders. Moreover, healthcare services for the elderly will be included in the national health project (2016-2020) being implemented by the Ministry of Health and Sports. The healthcare plan is to be carried out in cooperation with Thailand.

The Ministry of SWRR is taking systematic measures for the healthcare of elders as it has become an important task, due to the changing population size. The ministry is planning to train care givers and do research with the help of the neighbouring Thailand.

According to the national census, there are 2,897,563 elders aged 65 and above, accounting for 5.8 per cent of the total population. The country has 14 million children under 15 and 32 million people aged between 15 and 64 with the ability to work.  

The country's aging population could reach over 5.4 million by 2025 accounting for 15 per cent, experts estimate. Of that, more than 500,000 will need care, they added.

In 2002-2003, the number of elders aged 60 and above was 8.5 per cent up from 6.4 per cent of the population in 1990-1991. The current figures show that the aging population has reached 11 per cent. As life styles of most families have changed, elders now need both physical and mental care.

According to the figures released by the Ministry of SWRR in 2014, there were about 6 million people aged 60 and above while those aged between 80 and 90 had increased.

The national census shows that one in 10 people in Myanmar is over 60 years of age. By 2050, one in four people is likely to be 60 and above.  

Translated by ST