In Bangladesh, around four out of five older (60 years and above) people suffer from chronic diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, depression, and dementia, said a study.
Dr Aliya Naheed, Scientist and Head of Initiative for Non-communicable Diseases at icddr,b, disclosed the research findings at a webinar on Friday, marking the ‘International Day of Older Person 2021’.
At the same time, it also finds that older females suffer more (54pc than older males (37pc).
The study also reveals that one out of every three (35pc older people have visited local drug stores in the last six months, while 36 percent of them visited private health facilities, 17 percent visited the government health facilities to seek care. The average health expenditure in the past six months of these older people was Tk 2,429.
Among the older participants, 30 percent were wage-earner, and they could afford the health expenses independently. Among those who do not earn their living, 4 out of 5 were dependant on the income of their children or savings, particularly the females. About 32 percent of older people are receiving financial support, mostly aged allowance.
Dr Aliya Naheed, Principal Investigator of this study, said “We have surveyed 2,795 older people across the country and found an alarming picture about the health status of the older people in Bangladesh.”
According to the national population and housing census 2011, older people comprise 7.8pc of the total population, which is predicted to be doubled by 2041. Thus, the government must ensure proper healthcare is easily accessible for older people and expand coverage of the safety-net services widely.”
In a video message, Dr Tahmeed Ahmed, Executive Director at icddr,b highlighted the shifting pattern of diseases from communicable to noncommunicable among older people.
In the webinar, Dr Blossom Stephan, Professor of Neuro epidemiology and Global Ageing, Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham, UK recommended developing a national plan, ensuring evidence-based practice, engaging older people, and developing partnerships with the relevant organisations to develop infrastructures for improving services for the older population.