The African Union published a draft Common Position on Long-Term Care Systems for Africa, the first of its kind. The draft acknowledges the growing ageing population – specifically the absolute number of older persons in Africa will rapidly increase from 64.5 million in 2015, to 220 million by 2050. The African Union notes that this “requires responses across the health, social, economic, political and environmental sectors.” At present, there are limited policy frames, dedicated resources, interventions, care models and systems to respond to the ageing population. The draft notes that family care systems and the dependence on female caregivers is not sustainable.
In the draft, the African Union is called on to promote constructive regional debate, consolidate the regional policy architecture, foster cross member-state learning, and to track regional progress. African Union Member States are charged to engage stakeholders, foster coordination, consolidate evidence, engage in constructive national debate, and pursue the implementation of long-term care policies or strategies. Finally, international development partners- such as the Global Ageing Network- are called on to support these efforts, prioritize long-term care in providing technical assistance and resources, and hosting forums for cross-national exchange and learning.
As we prepare for the increase in the number of older persons in Africa, the global and regional policy frameworks and instruments are essential to give effect to global thinking and local action. The pursuit of long-term care systems presents opportunities to explore creative solutions within the specific resource parameters in Africa, and provides a platform for collaboration and the engagement of all stakeholders. The need for responsive and effective long-term care systems can only be met if all stakeholders step into the arena with a determined and collaborative mindset.
The Global Ageing Network is poised to support this important initiative by tapping its expertise and hosting virtual forums for exchange, as appropriate.
Andrew Kavala, Executive Director, MANEPO
Femada Shamam, Chief Executive Officer, TAFTA