The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has launched the “Eban Elderly Welfare Card” to enable elder people of 65 years and above to enjoy transport services at 50 per cent discount and also have priority access to banking and hospital services in the country.
The “Eban Card” is a priority identity card which will provide express service for the elderly who possess it; and will prevent them from joining long queues to access healthcare and banking services.
“Eban” is a name of an “Adinkra-symbol,” symbolizing safety, security and love, and literally means a fence in the Akan language. The launch was attended by cross section of the elderly drawn from across Accra, top officials of the Gender and Transport Ministries and representatives of other stakeholders. It was chaired by Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo.
Speaking at the launch held on Monday at the Opera Square in Accra, Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection stated that card is part of government’s social protection programmes towards the elderly.
Nana Oye said she is very happy that such an important milestone of launching an identity card to provide services for the elderly above the age of sixty-five years has been reached.
She said the card is to be used for the patronage of transport service for which the aged in possession of it would pay 50 per cent of the approved fare to their destinations, adding it can also be used for priority at healthcare and banking services.
Nana Oye explained that the Eban Card is in adherence to the 3rd Pillar of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, which ensures enabling and supportive environments for the aged.
“With the support of UNFPA we have already issued 1,200 of these cards to the elderly in Greater Accra. Registration for the EBAN Card has been done in Chorkor, Nima, La, Nungua and Ashaiman, all in Accra under pilot basis. At the end of the pilot phase the policy is expected to be rolled-out nationwide”, she explained.
Nana Oye said the ministry has inaugurated a National Advisory Committee to help develop the National Ageing Bill, adding that the drafting instructions for the bill have been finalized.
“Additionally, the ministry is reviewing the Policy Implementation Action Plan with Key stakeholders in order to include emerging issues and to reflect the realities of issues facing elderly persons”, she added.
Nana Oye revealed that her outfit has also established an “Ageing Desk” to address issues on the elderly in the Ministry.
“The ministry together with the National Health Insurance has registered over 3, 650 aged persons above 65 years, out of a targeted 10,000 on the National Health Insurance Scheme database in two short months in 20014”, she pointed.
The population and Housing Census indicated an increase in the population of the elderly from 6 per cent in 2000 to 6.7 per cent in 2010.
Babatunde Ahonsi, UNFPA Representative for Ghana, for his part said the UNFPA considers the Eban Card as timely, opportune and relevant. “We at UNPA are that, with the launch of this EBAN Elderly welfare card, the elderly in our society will be allowed to access quality services more quickly to improve their lives”, added.
Mrs. Joyce Bawa Mogtari, Deputy Minister for Transport also said the elderly deserved to enjoy these essential services because they have one way or the other contributed their quota towards the development of the country. She said the policy is in line with government’s social intervention programmes for the elderly.
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