13 February 2017

Tanzania: Helpage Devises Health Monitoring Tools for Elderly

Helpage International has come up with Health Outcome Tools (HOT) in data collection for health and care indicators, especially in assessing the impact of interventions for older persons' health and wellbeing.

HelpAge International Country Director, Amleset Tewodros, said HOT is a monitoring and evaluation tool developed for understanding projects or programmes that aim to benefit older men and women in low middle income countries.

She revealed this during a two-day workshop on Regional Data Disaggregation held in Dar es Salaam last Thursday and Friday aimed at promoting the inclusion of the older people aged above 50 in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

The meeting involved participants from Tanzania, South Africa and Zimbabwe. "The tool has already been accepted by the World Health Organization (WHO) but we are still in conversation with the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children to see how we can implement it in Tanzania even for a short period of trial," she said.

She added that the new tool would help solve the problem of lack of data that affects policy-making and prioritisation in resource allocation in the health sector. HOT will collect individual data manually and use them on health issues, she said.

During his presentation a participant from Tanzania, Dr Sode Matiku, said there was HIV infection among the elderly population in the study areas with HIV prevalence of 2.5 per cent. He conducted the study in Korogwe and Handeni districts in Tanga Region and Mbarali District in Mbeya Region.

According to Dr Matiku, the access and utilisation of HIV/AIDS service among the elderly population in the study areas is low on average of 37.4 per cent. He said there was an increasing trend for the number of people aged 50 years and above who are enrolled into care and ARV with inconsistent gender variation across study districts.

"With the exception of Korogwe District, there is a general increase in deaths due to HIV/AIDS in the elderly population with varying gender distribution in other districts of the study," he said.

In his recommendations, Dr Matiku suggested there was a need to establish strategies for future health service requirements for the aged population infected by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

A South Africa participant, Chililo Frank, said the meeting has helped in finding a way on how to reach older people and give them health care services related to HIV and AIDS because many societies in Africa still do not consider the group of elders in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

He said most HIV and AIDS campaigns in Africa were dealing with youths, children and pregnant women without considering the elderly.

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