Pabalelong Hospice participates in a study on aging, frailty, and resilience in Botswana

The Faculty of Medicine, University of Botswana, in collaboration with the expertise from the Institute of Global Innovation University of Birmingham, UK, hosted a workshop to encourage open discussion to identify key challenges affecting the aging population in Botswana. A unique combination of 60 stakeholders including clinicians, nurses, care workers, researchers, village leaders, traditional healers, civil servants, non-government organizations and invited international researchers from UK, discussed issues and opportunities specific to the aging population in the country. Vinaya Chalil, SCN, along with two Nurses represented the Hospice.

The workshop began with a panel discussion where representatives from national government, health care clinicians, community leaders, social and legal services, and health care insurers were present. Vinaya Chalil, SCN, was invited to be one of the Panelists. Each one shared their experience of the care of the elderly in the past and how it has drastically changed over the years. They also shared many issues currently affecting the elderly.

This was followed by two sets of roundtable discussions followed by feedback and plenary discussions. Discussions were set around topics that included rapid changes in lifespan, health span, and family demographics; the rising burden of non-communicable diseases affecting the elderly; the need of social justice for older citizens including equitable access to opportunities and services; the current provision of networks and resources; and the need to expand these to meet Botswana’s Development Goals.

The group discussions opened up a whole serious of issues faced by the elderly in the country and the lack of policies and legislation to safeguard the rights of the elderly. These reports and feedbacks will lead to research priorities and recommend areas of policy direction.