South Africa's elderly population to double by 2050 - WHO

2015-09-30 21:15

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Johannesburg - South Africa's elderly population is projected to double by 2050, according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report released on Wednesday.

According to the WHO's World Report on Ageing and Health, the proportion of South Africa's population aged 60 years or older will double from 7.7% to 15.4% of the country's total population over the next 35 years.

Presently, the number of South Africans 60 years or older sits at around 4.209 million people. In 2050, this figure will rise to 10.06 million people.

The WHO estimates that 38.4% of South Africans between the ages of 65 and 74 have limitations in eating, bathing, dressing, getting in and out of bed, or using the toilet.

An estimated 49.2% of those aged over 75 have the same problems.

"Effective health coverage is around 48%. This indicates that the majority of older adults either forgo or underuse health services, or end up impoverished due to the need to pay for health services which may, or may not, be able to provide the care they need," the South Africa fact sheet stated, which is part of the report.

Assessing the sources of payment for outpatient care for adults over 50 in South Africa between 2007 and 2010, 66% of outpatient care was found to be free, while 7% was paid for by insurance.

A total of 24% of outpatient care was paid for by the patient, their spouse or partner, while 3% was paid for by a child, family member or non-family member.

The WHO pointed to "four priority areas of action" to develop a global strategy and action plan on ageing and health. These were:

1. Align health services with the needs of the older populations they now serve;
2. Develop systems for providing long-term care;
3. Ensure everyone can grow old in age-friendly environments;
4. Improve measurement, monitoring and understanding.

Read more on:    who  |  healthcare

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