School of Built Environment & Development Studies

Book by UKZN Academic on Health and Care for the Elderly in Africa

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UKZN academic Professor Pranitha Maharaj launched her book titled: Health and Care in Old Age in Africa at a virtual event.

Maharaj is the DST/NRF South African Chair in Economic Development in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies.

She not only edited the book but also co-authored several chapters with colleagues in Africa. Collaboration was undertaken in the spirit of broadening networks and establishing working relationships around an important topic –population ageing!

In her opening remarks, Maharaj said ‘population ageing affects virtually every country in the world and is a matter of global concern. As people age they are more likely to experience health problems and may require assistance in their daily lives and sometimes, even long-term care. The book focuses specifically on the connection between health and care in old age.’

Recognition is given to the fact that in Africa, ageing of the population is occurring in the context of a range of challenges and the book attempts to fill the gaps that exist by exploring the health and care of older men and women in Africa.

The work is likely to have relevance for both academics and practitioners, including policy makers and advocacy groups working on highlighting the health and care of the elderly in Africa.

Presented in three sections, the first part profiles the demographic and health situation of the elderly, providing an overview of the various models of care in Africa. The second section refers to case studies that explore forms of care for the elderly as well as health challenges in the different contexts. The final part considers key aspects related to the experiences of elderly folk in the area of social pensions.

Academics, researchers and others from various disciplines were at the launch, which provided a space for constructive discussion and debates on the issue.

Mr Sthembiso Pollen Mkhize of the Gauteng City-Region Observatory said: ‘It is very interesting to see more work and research being done among the elderly, and this book suggests there is a clear need for societal strategies to maintain good health and quality of life as people age. It also highlights the need for greater investment in the subjective well-being of the ageing population.’

Ms Nompilo Mjwara of the AIDS Foundation of South Africa added: ‘The book launch was interesting and thought provoking. Most of us would like to reach 60 and beyond however, given socio-economic conditions, this is a worry. Trends presented from the African region show varying dynamics and contexts on how different countries have different life expectancies. The book gives some great insights that fill the gaps between health and care.’

The book provides a platform for academics, scholars, researchers, policy-makers and all those involved and interested in the field of ageing to openly engage and debate on aspects of ageing, geriatrics and gerontology.

The book was published by Routledge just before the national lockdown and is available through the Taylor and Francis Group.

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