GIS– 11 October, 2018: The senior citizens of Mauritius have, during the last 50 years, greatly contributed to positioning the country where it is today. The elderly have toiled hard, put in lots of efforts and sacrifices whereby now Mauritius stands as a true example on the African continent and is praised by many countries including international institutions such as the World Bank.
This statement was made today by the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre, in Pailles.
The Prime Minister was speaking as Chief Guest during a ceremony organised by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity, and Environment and Sustainable Development to celebrate the International Day of Older Persons 2018 at national level. Several Ministers and Members of the National Assembly were present at the event. The theme for the celebrations is Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions.
In his address, the Prime Minister pointed out that the notion of the elderly is already changing as there are many senior citizens who despite have reached 60 years or more are still continuing to contribute to the socioeconomic development of Mauritius and one such example is Sir Anerood Jugnauth, Minister Mentor, who at the age of 88 years is still working.
Referring to statistics, the Prime Minister observed that in June 2018, there were 214 000 elderly in Mauritius representing 16% of the population as compared to 2011 (12.5%). In 2023, it is projected that this figure will increase to reach 20% and in 2053 it will reach 33.8%, he indicated.
According to him, various measures have been taken to cater for the wellbeing of the elderly and efforts are ongoing as the Government wants to ensure that the elderly lead a pleasant and comfortable life in the most suitable environment possible.
Moreover, the Prime Minister recalled that the Basic Retirement Pension which was Rs 3 623 has been increased to Rs 5 000 and now it presently stands at Rs 5 810. The Basic Retirement Pension will be further increased in the future, he announced. For those aged between 90 and 99 years, the sum was Rs 10 789 and now it is Rs 15 810, while for centenarians the sum increased from Rs 12 300 to reach Rs 20 810, he highlighted.
In addition, Prime Minister Jugnauth assured that the necessary investment will be injected in the elderly sector as well as in the healthcare sector which is already undergoing major development and is one such sector which directly concerns the welfare of the elderly.
Speaking about health infrastructures, the Prime Minister stated that a project has already been initiated with the construction of a modern ENT hospital in Vacoas funded to the tune of Rs 885 billion, and recalled other projects in the pipeline which include: a new specialised Cancer hospital to the tune of Rs 1.5 billion; a modern teaching-based hospital in Flacq to the tune of Rs 4.4 billion to be constructed in two phases; a new eye hospital with modern equipment to the tune of Rs 650 million; an AYUSH hospital; and, Mediclinics with one to be inaugurated shortly at Floréal, and others to be constructed at Quartier Militaire, Stanley, Coromandel and Bel Air.
Prime Minister Jugnauth also made an appeal to the elderly to share their experience and help the younger generation to tread on the right path as well as inculcate values such as respect, solidarity and harmony which will make the youth more responsible vis-à-vis the Mauritian society and the country in general. The Prime Minister moreover emphasised the necessity for one and all, including the elderly, to practice physical activities and announced that a National Sports and Physical Policy will be launched shortly.
International Day of Older Persons
Almost 700 million people are now over the age of 60. By 2050, 2 billion people, over 20 per cent of the world’s population, will be 60 or older. The increase in the number of older people will be the greatest and the most rapid in the developing world, with Asia as the region with the largest number of older persons, and Africa facing the largest proportionate growth. With this in mind, enhanced attention to the particular needs and challenges faced by many older people is clearly required.
Just as important, however, is the essential contribution the majority of older men and women can continue to make to the functioning of society if adequate guarantees are in place. Human rights lie at the core of all efforts in this regard.
During the last decade, population ageing has led to the introduction of new policies and programmes, in which the social sector has taken centre stage, as shown by the majority of contributions to the present report. Many Governments in developed and developing economies have designed or piloted innovative policies in the health, social security or welfare systems. In addition, several policy framework documents, including national plans of action on ageing have been enacted.
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