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Comment: Whilst the older people in Myanmar are infirm and in bad physical condition, they are benefiting from a high level of assistance from the home.
SYGAPOREAN: The fragility and wellbeing of the older people in Myanmar are among the most vulnerable in Southeast Asia. The United Nations has estimated that the mean number of extra years of life for men and 60 year olds in Myanmar is 16. Though the situation is currently recovering, healthcare was one of the most poorly funded and underdeveloped in the area during the war years.
Myanmar's authorities have issued 2. 3% of GNP for healthcare - almost half of what Southeast Asia is spending as a regional area. The lack of healthcare staff and infrastructures is also obvious. So it is not strange that the last Myanmar Aging Study in 2012 - the first of its kind - found that only 33 percent of the over 60-year-olds in Myanmar are healthy, as against 45 percent in neighboring Thailand.
In Myanmar, there are widespread problems with the body of older people. More than 50 percent of the over 60-year-olds stated one or more of them had one or more restrictions in function, including difficulty in climbing steps, squatting and raising 5 kg, in comparison with only 35 percent in Thailand. These kinds of problems become more severe with increasing years.
Almost 40 percent of the over 60-year-olds report at least one degree of disability. The number of 80-year-olds and older people will rise to 90 percent, indicating that the need for nursing services will increase with the age of Myanmar's people. Currently, most senior citizens with disabilities in Myanmar are receiving support in the day-to-day activity of their families.
Housing, especially with grown-ups, is an important way of supporting them. Over three-fourths of Myanmar's senior citizens share their homes with their kids, so many of them get help with their day-to-day social life when they need it. Families are powerful when it comes to looking after the aged.
Almost all those in need of nursing attention in the nationwide poll report that they received help in their day-to-day activity mainly from an immediate one. The majority of carers who assist the older people are their spouse and dependent child. The cornerstone of Myanmaranmar' s community is a powerful team. There is general acceptance and expectation that older kids take good charge of their mothers.
The aging parent who lives with their grown kids also looks after their grandkids. In turn, older grandkids can look after their own magnificente. In Myanmar, it is still very seldom that the provision of senior citizens' services is transferred to non-family members. However, the poor can place a heavy burden on the older generation, while the neediest in the world' s impoverished homes can hardly get by.
Uncovered nursing needs and insufficient nursing for senior citizens are higher at a lower level of the budget assets. As Myanmar's fast pace of prosperity in recent years has reduced poverage and improved the livelihood and standard of life of some individuals, this transformation has also brought attention to societal inequalities, which is reflected in the unfulfilled need for long-term health services for the older population.
In view of the growing concern about inequalities in the people of Myanmar, this patterns of injustice must be clearly identified and tackled. Given that the reduction in the number of families and increasing migratory and urbanization in the next few centuries represent further challenge for the fragile older people, we must pay greater consideration now and not later. In Myanmar, the percentage of older people in the age of 60 and older remains below 10 percent.
But like everywhere in the area, an older populace can bring great challenge and burden a flourishing public and private sector system. World Bank strongly encourages Asia-Pacific nations to introduce early adoption of systemic long-term programs before the number of fragile older people becomes too high. Myanmar AGS findings are particularly important as Myanmar's leaders are currently developing strategies and actions to tackle the economic, public-health, and social impacts of demographic change.
To date, Myanmar's healthcare and charitable system has done little to meet the long-term needs of the growing number of elderly people so that they can manage on their own. It is important that this policy of SSGP should cover not only the poor but also the weak and elderly in need of nursing attention.
Especially promissing is the community-based support by qualified voluntary workers who are being enlisted by self-help groups of older people established in the state. Funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Aid and Resettlement in cooperation with a non-governmental organization HelpAge International, however, the program is still in its initial phase and covers less than 1 percent of Myanmar's older people.
With Myanmar, it is important to strengthen the practices of conventional family-based and redeveloped community-based nursing. Knodel is Professor Emeritus at the Population Studies Centre of the University of Michigan.