NGO calls for equity cards, more support for seniors

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The International Day of Older Persons by the NGO HelpAge Cambodia on October 1.

The NGO HelpAge Cambodia has requested that the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation support elderly people by providing them with financial support, equity cards and provide funding to support community-based senior citizen associations.

In a September 30 press statement, HelpAge Cambodia said that this year for the International Day of Older Persons on October 1 that their requests are in line with Cambodia’s National Ageing Policy 2017-2030.

Older persons day is observed to promote effective protections and the wellbeing of senior citizens.

The NGO, through its press statement, urged the government, social affairs ministry, and National Committee for Senior Citizens to increase their focus on providing health support for old people.

Tum Vira, executive director of HelpAge Cambodia, said that the their requests should be granted by the government because these three points requested are really necessary for old people.

“I hope that the government will respond to some extent, whether less or more, and explain their decision to seniors. It is better than making this request without any responses from the responsible institutions,” he said.

Social affairs ministry's General Department of Technical Affairs director-general and spokesman Touch Channy said that the above-mentioned requests by the NGOs have been implemented piecemeal by the ministry through the provision of equity cards and funding to support senior citizen associations.

“We are gradually supporting old people. People from the age of 60 and over who are poor, we provide them with IDPoor cards. As far as I know, more than 300,000 old people have received financial support through cash transfers to poor households and this programme is continuing,” he said, adding that there more than 4,000 senior citizen associations at the commune level.

The National Institute of Social Affairs (NISA) said in its 2021 report that 55 per cent of old people have an income that doesn't allow them to meet their basic needs, while 45 per cent of them had received financial support from the government through the cash transfer programme for poor and vulnerable people during Covid-19 pandemic.