Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People Programme
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) pursues a life-cycle approach to human progress, catering to the appropriate needs at all stages of life — from with the conception of a child and to the death of a person. As a supplementary intervention of its multidimensional poverty alleviation programmes, PKSF has introduced the ‘Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of Elderly People Programme’ in line with the government’s elderly policy.
PKSF aims to help in reducing miseries of the elderly people through the programme. The programme assists to access to social safety, financial benefits and health services of the elder person. The Source of fund for the programme is the Special Fund and Programmes-Support Fund of PKSF, and surplus of credit programmes of Partner Organisations (POs).
The following activities are being implemented under the programme.
- Establishing social centres for the elderly people in every Union,
- Offeing old age allowances & support assistive materials (walking sticks, commodes, blanketsm warm cloths, wheel chairs, unbrellas etc);
- Provision of Special Savings and Pension Fund;
- Recognising the contribution for the society made by the elderly persons’
- Awarding the best children for looking after their parents,
- Providing appropriate credit and IGAs-based training facilities to the poor elderly people,
- Offering physiotherapy services & geriatric nursing to the elderly by organizing training for the Physiothery Aide.
- Rehabilitation of poor and distress elderly in community.
Initially, PKSF started implemention “Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People Programme’ in 20 Unions of 18 districts in January 2016 through 19 POs. The programme has been extended to 100 Unions in 2018.
COMMITTEE FORMATION, TRAINING AND MONTHLY MEETING
A survey has been conducted in selected areas to assess the existing socio-economic and demographic status of the targeted elderly people. A total of 1.35 lac elderly people have been selected under the programme. So far, 2089 committees: 78 Union committees, 1,319 village committees and 692 ward committees have already been formed. On the contrary, the formation of the committees in 22 new Union is under process. The elderly people have been provided with leadership and communication training to increase their negotiation skills. The programme operations are entirely managed by the local elderly people in collaboration with the POs concerned.
ELDERLY SOCIAL CENTRE
The programme has a provision for establishing an Elderly Social Centre in each Union to create a common platform for the elderly people. These multi-purpose Centres are used for recreational activities. In the centre the elderly have the access of playing different indoor games, watching television and reading news papers. Local people donate the land for constructing the Social Centres that serve as a means of social cohesion and empowerment of the elderly. The construction of ‘Social Centres for the Elderly People’ has already been completed in 29 Unions under the programme coverage while the rest are underway. A general physician sits in the Elderly Centre and provides treatment for elderly people. A physiotherapist also sits in the Social Centre and provides physiotherapy services to the elderly people for two days in a month. Besides, cataract surgery has also been conducted at Elderly Centre at the same time. In that case, emergency & complicated patients are reffered to district hospital for proper treatment.
OLD AGE ALLOWANCE
To help the elderly by defraying the expenses for different needs, Old Age Allowances are given to the poor elderly people. With this allowance, many are now being able to buy necessary medicines and avail treatment for their diseases due to old-age. This allowance gives them mental strength by ensuring the financial security of the elderly people. It has been found that some elderly people have already started income generating activities by investing their allowances as a whole. However, PKSF provided TK 3.04 crore (Tk. 600 per person per month) as Old Age Allowance to 5948 people, as of March 2018.
Apart from providing financial benefits to the elderly people, this programme also provides different life-support equipments to the elderly. Those equipments make the lives of the elderly very easy. Up to March 2018, different POs have distributed 1422 umbrellas and 1571 walking sticks to assist the elderly people for comfortable walking and getting protection from hit wave and rain. Besides, 5189 blankets and 3570 pieces of warm clothes have also been distributed to the elderly in order to get warm during cold weather. Moreover, 1351 Chair Commodes, and 105 wheel chairs have been distributed among the physically unfit and disable elderly people.
ASSISTANCE TO COVER FUNERAL EXPENDITURE
PKSF is undertaking all possible efforts to address the life-cycle needs of the elderly. Sometimes, when people are unable to bear the funeral costs of the deceased, then PKSF ensures proper funeral of every deceased by bearing the cost in the commanding areas under this programme. As of March 2018, Tk. 18 lac (Tk 2,000 per funeral) has been provided to defray the expenses of 954 funerals.
AWARDING ELDERLY PEOPLE
Recognition of contribution of the elderly people towards the society is a key component of the Elderly programme. With a view to encourage others people in doing same, special awards given to children for their support to the elderly parents. A total of 492 elderly persons and their 218 children have been awarded for their noble work so far.
IGA TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT
This programme has also provision of creating employment opportunities by involving them in income generating activities (IGAs) through microcredit. As of March 2018, a total of 1,210 elderly people were provided training on different IGAs. With the knowledge of training, a good number of active elderly people have already started small business. It is noteworthy that they also get required credit from POs as a start up capital for their enterprises.
PHYSIOTHERAPY AND GERIATRIC CARE TRAINING
PKSF, in association with Bangladesh Physical Therapy Association (BPA) provided training on: (i) Physiotherapy & Geriatric-care (ii) Primary Health Care (iii) Food and Nutrition for elderly people (iv) Counseling regarding climate change effects on health and Rescue/protection mechanism during Disaster. 40 selected candidates (20 female and 20 male) from different Partner Organizations have been received the training from October 07-20, 2017. PKSF has already deployed the trained people at the Elderly Social Centres in 20 Unions under commanding area. Besides, a physiotherapist sits in the Elderly Social Centre and provides physiotherapy services to the elderly for two days in a month. As of March 2018, a total of 2,180 elderly people have been provided physiotherapy services.
HEALTH AND CARE FACILITIES
The elderly people usually suffer from many complications due to old aged diseases. But, in view of the problems they could have fewer services from physicians along with medicine. The cost of health care services is also increasing gradually, which is unaffordable for majority of the elderly people. Considering the burning issues, the Elderly program has kept a provision of providing health care services and takes the facilities at the door-step of elderly people. A doctor sits in the Elderly Social Centre for two days in a month and provides healthcare services to the ailing elderly people. As of March 2018, a total of 51,791 elderly people have received health care services as a whole.
SUPPORTS FOR HELPLESS & SHELTERLESS ELDER
Under the programme, there is a provision to rehabilitate a vulnerable elderly in their locality by providing BDT 4000 in every month for subsistance. As of March 2018, 33 helpless & shelterless elderly of 33 Unions have been offered this type of services.
The Elderly programme concern of the recreational needs of the senior citizens. Therefore, Elderly Fair were organised in different working areas where both the elderly and young people participate in a festive mood. In the fairs, Elderly people displayed their fish nets, vermi-compost, hats and other crafts produced by them. As a part of additional amusement most of the elderly fair is followed by indigenous cultural events.
NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PROGRAMME FOR THE ELDERLY PEOPLE
A national conference on “Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People Program” was held on March 2, 2017 at PKSF Auditorium. Finance Minister Mr. AMA Muhith was present in the conference as the Chief Guest. Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of PKSF, presided over the event. An exhibition on services provided by PKSF for the elderly people was displayed in the function. Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director (Program) of PKSF, presented on “Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People Program”.
WORKSHOP ON FIELD-LEVEL IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES
A workshop titled ‘Field-level Implementation Strategies of Uplifting the Quality of Lives of the Elderly People Programme’ was held on July 23, 2017 at PKSF Bhaban. A total of 120 Focal Persons and Programme Organisers from 52 POs took part in the daylong workshop. PKSF Chairman Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Managing Director Mr. Md Abdul Karim, and Deputy Managing Director (Programme) Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader were present at the inaugural session of the workshop. Mr. Abul Hasan Md Abdul Qaiyum, Deputy General Manager (Programme) of PKSF, gave a presentation and discussed the strategies of the Programme for implementation at the field level.
National conference with Help Age International
A national conference titled ‘Policy Implications of Population Ageing’ was held at PKSF auditorium on October 22, 2017 in collaboration with HelpAge International, Bangladesh presided over by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF. Mr. S .M Firoz, Hon’ble Chief Whip of Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsad, MP was present as the chief guest. Dr. A.K. M. Nurun Nabi, Governing body member of PKSF, Mr. Eduardo Klien, and Regional Director of Asia Pacific region of HelpAge International presented concept note papers on the policies of Population Aeging.
Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF gave welcome speech at the opening ceremony of the conference. Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director (Program), PKSF, shared the experience of PKSF’s Uplifting the Quality of Lives of the Elderly People Programme. Besides, a total of 11 related articles were also presented in two technical sessions during the day-long conference.
‘Bangladesh Jatiya Prabin Mancha (Bangladesh National Forum for the Elderly)’ Launched
A national platform titled ‘Bangladesh JatiyaPrabin Mancha (Bangladesh National Forum for the Elderly)’ has been launched under the initiatives of Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF). Mr. Md Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF, has been pro-active to the formation of the Forum.
The platform will take up various programs in light of the National Policyon Older Persons 2013. The platform, comprising different organizations and individuals working for the welfare of the elderly, is expected to play an effective role in building a senior citizen-friendly society as well as in ensuring sustainable socio-economic progress by bettering services to the elderly people.
Social Welfare Minister Mr. Rashed Khan Menon, MP, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and Health and Family Welfare Secretary Mr. Foyez Ahmed was the Special Guest at the launching ceremony. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of PKSF presided over the program held in Auditorium on 14 May 2018.
In his speech, Mr. Rashed Khan Menonsaid the experience and wisdom of the senior citizens can guide the youth towards a better and more prosperous future.Mentioning that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved leaving anyone behind, he commentedthatempowering senior citizens is as important as ensuring their welfare. “I hope this Forum will play a vital role in ensuring inclusive development and social dignity of the elderly.”
Stating that the average life expectancy of the Bangladeshis has reached 72 years, the Health and Family Welfare Secretary said ensuring collective welfare of the elderly is becoming a growing challenge, and this Forum is a “praiseworthy initiative” for addressing that challenges.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, the PKSF Chairman, said inclusion of the elderly in the development process is a must for achieving the SDGs. During his speech as the program’s Chair, the eminent economist also announced the Advisory Committee (Proposed), the Executive Committee and the General Body of the newly floated Forum.
PKSF Managing Director Mr. Md Abdul Karim said PKSF is carrying out its Elderly programme in light of the National Policy on Older Persons 2013 and the Parents’ Maintenance Act 2013.
He said PKSF is conducting a comprehensive pro-elderly program titled ‘Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People’ that ensures social and financial security, healthcare, empowerment, entertainment of elderly people. The new Forum will hopefully formulate its working strategies in line with the experiences of PKSF elderly programme, he said.
Mr Abdul Karim, a former Principal Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, stressed on the need for the expansion of health services for the elderly at the grassroots, incorporation a dedicated chapter in textbooks for creating social responsibility and awareness among people, and introduction of a national pension scheme for all.
A separate ministry or department can be established for expediting the pro-elderly measures of the government, suggested the former top bureaucrat of the State. “Bangladesh National Forum for the Elderly will hopefully act as a model platform for the welfare of older persons”, Mr. Abdul Karim added.
Earlier, PKSF Deputy Managing Director (Program) Mr. MdFazlul Kader, who spearheads the implementation of the Foundation’s innovative ‘Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People’ program, presented on different pro-elderly interventions and achievements of PKSF.
Ms. Rabeya Sultana, Country Director of HelpAge International Bangladesh, Mr. Abul Hasib Khan, Director of Resource Integration Centre (RIC), and Ms. Monowara Begum, Executive Director of Prottyashi, also spoke at the programme. PKSF Board Members, members of PKSF’s elderly interventions and officials of the Partner Organizations concerned, among others, were present at the launching ceremony of the new platform.
FACEBOOK PAGE INAUGUARTION
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF, inaugurated the official Face-book page of Uplifting the Quality of Lives of the Elderly People Programme on October 12, 2017. He pushed like button of the page and watched the contents and comments posted & shared by different organizations.
PUBLICATION & DOCUMENTATION
With a view to conduct the field-level activities, ‘Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People Programme’ has already published a Guideline of field operation’ for supports of focal persons and programme organizers. Besides, a 36-pages Photo Album and 21-minutes documentary titled “Rangiye Diye jao” on the activities of elderly people has also been released from the Elderly programme unit. This unit also published a 16-pages news-letter that contains news, features, case studies, interviews, info- graphics, bar graph, photo albums etc. which has been earned reputation from every section. Besides, a brochure has also been published in both Bangla and English from this Unit.