Bhutan Observes International Day for Older Persons And Aims To Improve Well-Being Of Its Elderly Citizens

Email

Bhutan has committed to implementing The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.

Bhutanese women with prayer wheels. (Source: Lostwithpurpose)

 

By Nima Wangdi (Vice President Royal Society for Senior Citizens) | Kuensel

In Bhutan the Royal Society for Senior Citizens (RSSC) has been observing 1st October as the International Day for Older Persons along with the rest of the world. Senior citizens and members of the RSSC would meet and discuss issues affecting the elderly people on the day.

The Royal Society for Senior Citizens (RSSC) would like to take this opportunity to highlight issues related to older persons in Bhutan and highlight the activities of the RSSC.

The 2018 theme for the observance of International day for older persons is to:

  • Promote the rights enshrined in the Declaration and what it means in the daily lives of older persons;
  • Raise the visibility of older people as participating members of society committed to improving the enjoyment of human rights in many areas of life and not just those that affect them immediately;
  • Reflect on progress and challenges in ensuring full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by older persons; and
  • Engage broad audiences across the world and mobilise people for human rights at all stages of life.

In Bhutan, just as the Throne introduced democracy in the country, His Majesty had commanded the establishment of the RSSC in 2011.

Tapping on the rich experience of senior citizens for the benefit of society at large

His Majesty was pleased to command that the retired government servants have great potential to remain productive and contribute towards the well-being of communities and in the process of nation building.

He also expressed hope that the retired officials will put their wealth of experience and knowledge to productive use by forming partnership of senior citizens to foster harmonious living and the well-being of senior citizens and people in general.

Subsequently, a group of 18 retired government servants started the RSSC as founding members. It is registered as a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) with the Civil Society Organisation Authority of Bhutan from February 21, 2011.

 

Source: travel.paintedstork

 

The vision and mission of the Royal Society for Senior Citizens (RSSC) is to build an inclusive and harmonious society consistent with the principles of Gross National Happiness while enabling senior citizens to harness greater happiness for their family and the rest of the society.

The Society now has about 200 members who support the RSSC. The RSSC hopes to establish a chapter in each of the dzongkhags and gewogs in future.

Problems faced by the elderly citizens in Bhutan today

The present situation and living standard of elderly citizens in Bhutan today is a growing concern. The challenges faced by them as reflected by the National Statistics Bureau in 2017 report are:

  • Around 63% face financial problem
  • Around 30% suffer from poor shelter
  • Around 26% suffer from food insufficiency
  • Around 15% are landless
  • Around 15% are debt-ridden
  • Nearly 18% fear hunger among others and
  • Almost 71% fear sickness and death

As a priority, the RSSC has been advocating a national policy and legislation to address the issues faced by elderly persons. In this regard, meetings were held with the member and committees of the Parliament and with the government of the day.

Implementing The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing in Bhutan

Bhutan has committed to implementing The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. It is the global guiding document of the United Nations on population ageing.

 

Source: lifepart2

 

The key objective of the Madrid Plan of Action is to build societies for people of all ages by addressing the needs of older persons and strengthening their participation in economies and societies.

It focuses on three priority areas: older persons and development; advancing health and well -being into old age; and ensuring enabling and supportive environments.

The 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development complements the Plan of Action in its aims to ensure that older persons are not left behind.

Bhutan therefore, as a first step needs to adopt a policy and pass legislation to address various issues related to elderly population in the country.

Proposals by the RSSC to the Bhutanese government

While awaiting the policy and legislation to be adopted, the RSSC has proposed the following to the government:

  1. Installation of elevators for buildings of 4 storeys or higher.
  2. Public busses to designate priority seats for the elderly and disabled.
  3. Geriatric health programme, which is being implemented in the rural areas whereby health assistants visit the home of the elderly within their locality.

The programme has been much appreciated so far, especially by those who are disabled and alone in their homes. However, it can be further improved and strengthened. If possible the programme could also be expanded to urban areas where quite a large number of senior citizens find it difficult to visit the hospital.

  1. Accessibility to senior citizens for health care can be further improved with separate GDMO chambers. Counters for medicines for senior citizens should also be instituted in all hospitals.

Regarding the specialist services, medical appointments must be given to senior citizens, if not for all, to make it convenient for them by not having to wait on the first come first system.

If a specific day of the week could be assigned for senior citizens when they could be given a health check up by a GDMO and a medical specialist, it would be very useful to detect sickness before it is too late.

  1. Provide non-contributory pension schemes for poor elderly citizens aged 60 years and older.
  2. Introduce voluntary contribution pension scheme so that even national workforce workers can provide for old age pension.
  3. Support the establishment of Senior Citizen centres in urban areas where they can congregate and services for them provided
  4. Considering the international trend of the increasing ratio of senior citizens, Bhutan also will soon have a larger percentage of elderly people, especially with the improvement in services of education, health and increasing income. It may, therefore, not be too early to frame policies and legislation to meet the challenges of an ageing population.
  5. Establishment of a seed fund through a one-time grant amount

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Daily Bhutan.

 

 


Related Posts

Meet Gomchen Wangchuk - Recognised By UNICEF As The Man Who...

Together with support from the Bhutanese government, Bhutan Salt Enterprises (BSE) contributed to IDD-elimination.

May 27, 2018 20:16

Bhutan Marks ‘Safer Internet Day’ for Children

To help promote the positive usage of the Internet, Bhutan joined the global community to mark ‘Safer Internet Day”. The...

Feb 14, 2018 08:01

Youth Consulted on Sustainable Development

Titled ‘Young Bhutan Network: The Spirit of Youth’, the guideline is expected to streamline the operation of networks...

Dec 16, 2017 14:55

The Myriad Of Sporting Facilities Constructed In Bhutan To...

The government in its 11th FYP report stated that it undertook the development of various infrastructure and...

Jul 29, 2018 08:33

Observing World Health Day in the Highlands of Merak and Sakteng

“Bhutan provides free health services to its people and by expanding the services to remote areas like Merak, it shows...

Apr 12, 2018 00:20

Health and Happiness campaign embarks for a drugs free Bhutan

The advocacy program to create awareness to reduce drug and alcohol abuse and illicit trafficking of psychoactive...

Aug 10, 2017 10:00

Latest

News

Foothills Festival- The Southerners Cultural Carnival

The festival showcases Sarpangs unique culture, natural resources and local products while offering some fun and rewarding challenges...

Jan 27, 2020 13:27

USD 25.3m Green Climate Fund To Address Climate Change Adaption In Bhutan

The project can help address climate change adaptation challenges facing Bhutan, particularly in the agriculture sector.

Jan 15, 2020 16:28

Features

Bhutan Is A Second Home For Me: Nadir Patel, High Commissioner for Canada In Bhutan

"We feel that Bhutan is special in our hearts."

Jan 29, 2020 13:48

Bhutan Embarks On Green Financing Roadmap, To Mitigate Climate Change Impact

A Joint Learning Program on ‘Inclusive green finance’ was held in the capital, Thimphu from 20-22 January 2020.

Jan 27, 2020 20:28

Sports

Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Business

Economic Roadmap Needed To Steer Bhutan Towards Higher GDP Growth

The Lyonchhen said that the economic figures will improve in 2020 as 70 percent of the capital investments still lie unused.

Jan 17, 2020 23:38

Celebrating Bhutan’s entrepreneurs: Tashi Wangdi of iHub

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Jan 12, 2020 23:38

Travel

Forging the Unbeaten Trail Towards Wangdue Nye

When you dedicate year 2020 to hike on unbeaten trails in Bhutan.

Jan 21, 2020 10:58

Make Your Own Personalised Stamps And Discover Bhutan’s Postal History At The Postal Museum

The Bhutan Postal Museum in Thimphu is also a major tourist attraction.

Jan 18, 2020 21:08

Lifestyle

Bhutan- The Wedding Destination in Asia

Bhutan, a Himalayan kingdom, is a landlocked country located between China and India. With its reputation for mystery and magic, stunning...

Jan 23, 2020 09:07

Relish Your Taste Buds With 8 Delectable Bhutanese Staple Food

One of the best places to try authentic Bhutanese cuisine is through a homestay, where you will get to sample what most locals eat at home.

Jan 19, 2020 21:08

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!