Update October 3, 2015

Dhaka 4-12 pm, 29-September, 2020

Over half of globe’s elderly population doesn’t get urgent care: ILO

Sumel Sarker

ILO

Over half of globe’s elderly population doesn’t get urgent care: ILO

03 October 2015, Nirapad News: International Labour Organization (ILO) today issued a study report of theirs saying more than half of globe’s elderly population were deprived of urgent health care services or long-term care (LTC).

“More than half of the global population aged 65 and above, representing 300 million people is excluded from urgently needed long-term care (LTC),” said an ILO statement revealing the report coinciding with the International Day of Older Persons yesterday.

The study attributed the lack of the services to a global shortfall of 13.6 million care workers saying the situation was “undermining the delivery of quality services to more than half of the world’s older persons”.

The study reviewed the coverage deficits in 46 countries, which cover 80 percent of the world population aged 65 and over and found “extreme deficits in social protection for older persons in need of long-term care”.

“The most important deficit in absolute numbers is observed in Asia and the Pacific where there is a shortage of 8.2 million LTC workers meaning 65 per cent of the older population is excluded from access to long-term care,” it said.

The study suggested that filling these gaps would result in a great number of jobs created while director of ILO’s Social Protection Department said the neglect of vital needs of older persons and the exploitation of unpaid female family members is the result of many years of underinvestment in LTC protection.

In Africa, which lacks 1.5 million LTC workers, more than 90 per cent of older persons do not receive long-term care services when in need.

“We face these shortfalls despite the fact that the bulk of care – up to 80 per cent of LTC work – is provided by unpaid female family members of older persons. Their numbers exceed by far the numbers of formal LTC workers in all countries,” explains Xenia Scheil-Adlung, ILO Health Policy Coordinator and author of the study.

According to the ILO expert, the situation is aggravated by a complete lack of LTC coverage in most social protection schemes.

“Only 5.6 per cent of the global population lives in countries that provide universal LTC coverage . . . while more than 48 per cent of the world’s population is not protected by national LTC legislation, another 46.3 per cent are, to a large extent, excluded from LTC coverage due to narrow regulations that limit benefits only to the poorest,” he said.

The latter forces many persons aged 65 and over to pay out of their pockets for LTC services.

“This deplorable situation is reflected in the very low public LTC expenditure, which amounts to less than 1 per cent of GDP on average globally. The lowest public expenditure is found in Africa, where the majority of countries spend 0 per cent of GDP on LTC,” Scheil-Adlung said.

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