Ethiopia: Justice and Sustained Life for the Elderly

editorial By Solomon Dibaba

Old age is never avoidable but is not necessarily achievable. Millions of people die at young age due to illness, natural and man-made disasters as well as civil wars and accidents.

Justice and sustained life for senior members of any society including female and male elderly has already become a major advocacy issue throughout the world. In Ethiopia although there are basic legal and constitutional provisions to ascertain justice for the elderly and in spite of favourable social welfare policies, much has not been done to address the plight of the elderly in a sustainable manner.

Ethiopia’s population pyramid shows that the majority of its population falls under the age of fifteen. In addition the triangular structure of the country’s population pyramid also reveals the fact that people aged sixty four and above comprise 3 per cent of the population.

Despite the high rate of two digit economic growth, welfare is still a neglected issue where the government has paid more attention to agriculture, energy sectors and roads.

The government’s negligence of welfare has had negative impacts on the lives of elderly people the majority of whom are without secured means of income in the later stage of their lives

The welfare mix describes the whole pattern of resources and programmes that can in principle rectify insecurity and improve well-being in a society. These include: local communal practices, non-governmental organizations, informal markets and household livelihood strategies

Ethiopia’s welfare mix comprises of government service, humanitarian relief (by donor, international and local NGOs, informal provisions by local institutions and networks that attempt to meet consumption, health and other needs of the older persons. Even though it is not enough, it is the combination of this mix that tries to alleviate the hardship people face including the elderly.