Richard Walker is a Consultant Geriatrician at North Tyneside General Hospital, and Honorary Professor of Ageing and International Health at Newcastle University. He has a research interest in non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and is Associate International Director for SSA for the Royal College of Physicians, London. He is the Clinical Lead for the Northumbria / Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre health link and Chair of the Movement Disorders Society African Task Force. In this blog article he discusses the growing challenge of ageing in Africa.
Esther Clift is a Consultant Practitioner Trainee in Frailty with Health Education Wessex. This is the second part of a four part BGS blog series about her time in Africa. She tweets @EstherClift
It is well recognised that in much of East Africa the concept of ‘Heshima’ or respect for ‘Wazee’ is still widely practised. The term “Mzee” describes an older person, often with greying hair, but has a tone of respect and deference to it. I heard the term used widely, from young white men joshing their father, to students upholding a faithful teacher, but always with a tone of love and respect. There is no direct translation into English were our language for ageing is often loaded with a derogatory tone and disliked by one group or another. Phenomenology is a challenge we are all too familiar with in Medicine for Older People! We often refer to such expression as an example of how Western cultures need to learn from those of the global South. Continue reading →
Kamusiime Zadok is a social gerontologist and founder of Voice of the Elderly, a community based organization aiming to support older people in the Kabale district of Uganda. He is an expert in health and social policy for older people in Uganda, and the effects of ageism on the welfare of the elderly.
As with any country, there are many older people in Uganda who are still active, healthy and independent. However, those who are frail, or in poor health, lack the social support structures available in the UK and are entirely dependent upon their families for support. This is coupled with limited treatment options for even simple conditions such as cataracts, an almost complete absence of monitoring for chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, and a lack of expertise in geriatric medicine the country.
Voices of the Elderly is a Ugandan Non-Governmental Organisation which aims to improve the state of the elderly in Kabale, South-West Uganda. Continue reading →