BUJUMBURA October 2nd (ABP) – Burundi Minister of Human Rights, Social and Gender Affairs, Mr. Martin Nivyabandi, said in Bujumbura on Monday that the Burundi government will always help elderly persons, regardless of limits of its means.

In a statement made on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons, celebrated on October 1st each year, Mr. Nivyabandi announced the celebration of the day, on Tuesday in Rutegama commune of Muramvya province (center-west). The theme chosen this year at the national level is “Let’s unite for social protection of all ages”.

On that occasion, support and assistance in food and non-food items were granted to the vulnerable elderly identified. The monitoring committee will also evaluate the achievements of the past year in relation to the six strategies adopted, resulting from the restitution of the study carried out by the congregation of the Brothers “Bene Yozefu” with the support of the World Solidarity Organization on the needs of the elderly.

Minister Nivyabandi said the United Nations Seniors Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of older people when they were still active, and to look at the issues that affect their lives.

According to him, the government has recommended that social security institutions review the extent to which pension benefits can be improved. The government has also commissioned a feasibility study for free health care for all elderly persons.

Mr. Nivyabandi mentioned the measures already taken by the government to ensure the protection of the elderly. These include the signature of partnership agreements with centers and associations working for the elderly, with the consequent grant of annual subsidies, the payment of water and electricity bills, and Exemption of goods and services from abroad for that category of persons. Those centers and associations benefit from visits and distributions of food and non-food items for the most vulnerable who also benefit from medical assistance. The pension and the medical insurance card issued by the Civil Service Mutual are also granted to retirees.

In addition, six strategies envisaging the protection and support activities of the elderly were adopted on October 1, 2018. In 2012, the government adopted the national social protection policy, while a national strategy for its implementation and the Social Protection Support Fund (FAPS) are already in place.

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