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Kyotera. Kitovu Mobile has today joined the rest of the World to commemorate Older Persons Day. Celebrations were held in Kyotera District where Kitovu Mobile has over 200 grannies supported under the Grandmothers and OVC Social Support Project
The day has been used to have grannies voice their concerns,calling upon local government leaders to address them. This has been done through a procession,that was flagged off by Ms Robinah Ssentongo,the Kyotera District Woman Member of Parliament who was the former Director for Kitovu Mobile.
With their placards with advocacy messages,the grannies walking to the rhythm of the band matched from Kyotera town up to the district headquarters in Kasaali; close to one kilometer.
At the District, Ms Natenza Clotilda,a former staff at Kitovu Mobile,now a grandmothers advocacy champion representing the elderly in Masaka and Kyotera district at national levels,presented the concerns before Kyotera District leaders both political and technocrats.
Amidst loud affirmative voices from the grannies,Cotildah said grannies have a lot that hurt them ranging from health to economic issues.
She said: ” Dear our leaders,as an advocate for grannies,we want to use this day to voice concerns that hurt us as grannies. In terms of health, we want to have our public health centers stock drugs for our age-related ailments “
She said many grannies find it hard to get the needed drugs for diseases like high blood pressure,diabetes, backache from drug shops and clinics. “They only wait for free medical camps from Kitovu Mobile which is not sustainable”
She also noted that health facilities should accord first priority to grannies such that they do not wait for so long in the cues given their age.
Cotildah also appealed to the leaders,who were attentive to the concerns that there is need to have health workers trained in a special way to handle the elderly,saying: “Many of them take long to understand and can be guided on”
Financially, she noted that the Grannies are sidelined in economic development programs, urging Government to support them through their solidarity groups which Kitovu Mobile created as a way of empowering them.
Kitovu Mobile has so far created 17 solidarity groups with over 400 grandmothers an initiative that would be boosted by government’s development programs,as Cotildah suggested amidst cheers from grannies.
They grannies also pleaded to government to reduce on the eligible age for getting the the Senior Citizen Grant,saying many of them hardly make it to eighty years.
Thus,grannies want the eligible age reduced to sixty. To justify their plea,Cotildah asked grannies who have clocked 80 to raise their hands and only one emerged.
Responding to their concerns ,Mr Kintu Kisekulo,the Kyotera District chairperson, said,the District is passing ordinances that will make health facilities have a special health worker dealing with the elderly.”They have to put focal persons for the elderly and improve on service delivery,” Mr Kintu said before lauding Kitovu Mobile for its noble empowerment program for the grannies,said.
He assured the grannies that that the District is soon getting the Senior Citizens Grant,which excited the area the District Woman Member of Parliament,Ms Robina Ssentongo.
Ssentongo who is also the former director for Kitovu Mobile,told grannies that she will front their concerns in parliament mostly the need to reduce the eligible age to get the social grant.