‘Sow seeds of caring and care giving’

‘Sow seeds of caring and care giving’

Senate Sekotlo

MASERU –  HEALTH Minister ’Molotsi Monyamane says there is need to come up with policies and laws that protect people who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Monyamane was speaking at a symposium on dementia in Maseru yesterday.

“I am glad that the Ministry of Social Development is doing a lot regarding the aged population in Lesotho,” Monyamane said.

“The demand is there. Let us expeditiously develop programs and systems that will enable us reach our goal of empowering family members and caregivers,” he said.

Monyamane said labelling the elderly who suffer from dementia witches should be stopped.

“Killing elders due to stereo-typical belief that they are witches is illegal and not acceptable as those elders fought for our freedom hence the celebration of independence,” Monyamane said.

“In the government there is still an 85-year-old minister, and it shows that age is nothing but just a number,” he said.

“There are still younger people suffering from dementia. We need to work hand in hand as a nation,” he said, adding that the Ministry of Health “is not the Ministry of Disease and so let us act as a three legged pot”.

Monyamane said health sector has to inform, educate and communicate with the general public about dementia in Lesotho.

“The question is, are we doing enough? If not, what are the pertinent issues that need to be addressed to enable the fulfilment of our mandate? The frightening part is that every four second someone in the world develops dementia,” he said.

The aim of the symposium was to remind people of moral obligation and duty to fight stigmatisation and misinformation that surrounds dementia suffers as a global problem.

Dr Chale Moji, President of Dementia Lesotho which is a voluntary charitable organisation established in 2013, said dementia is a clinical syndrome characterised by a gradual deterioration of intellectual, cognitive and memory function.

“It is humble beginning with specific aim to sow the seeds of caring and care giving in all persons of different age groups,” Moji said.

“Up until last week we had no office space. People do not know where to get us,” Moji said.

He said remembering “our loved ones who are living with dementia” reminds us “of our moral obligation and duty to fight stigmatisation and misinformation that surrounds dementia as a global problem”.

“Dementia is real and is a public health concern. It is frightening to know that every four seconds as am speaking to you now someone in the world develops dementia,” he said.

“We have to work hard to remove stigma and shame,” Moji said.

He encouraged that in order to reach to all stakeholders especially community leaders and civil organisations, “let us not forget various levels of healthcare workers who from time to time meet dementia and Alzheimer’s disease sufferers”.

“Do they have required skills and expertise to handle the challenges of dementia? If not what training programmes should we embark on to empower them with appropriate skill and knowledge for them to handle dementia and Alzheimer’s clients accordingly?”

Lowna Gie of Help Age International from South Africa said a symposium have given them exposure and perception of the disease in Lesotho and how people are responding to the disease.

The first meeting was first held in Geneva in 2015.

Dementia is a permanent or progressive decline in several dimensions of intellectual function that interferes with the individual’s normal social or economic activity.

The common symptoms of dementia are loss of memory, difficulty in language and problems with thinking and planning.

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