Uganda: Mbale's Oldest Woman Dies At 121

A somber mood has engulfed residents of Buwanyanga, Busano Sub-County, Mbale District following the death the area's oldest person, a woman aged 121.

Yunia Mutuwa Masela who is said to have been born around 1898 died at her home on Wednesday.

Mr Eric Mukwana, a close family friend and former minister of information in Nzu ya Masaba, the Bamasaba cultural institution, said Masela died after a short illness.

"It is sad news that I confirm that Mummy Masela has died after suffering an illness for just two days and it could be due to her advanced age. We are in preparation for her burial," Mr Mukwana said before describing Masela's death as a big blow to the Bamasaba as she has been a source of knowledge.

"The family is not doing fine and we call upon the well-wishers to support us because she deserves a decent burial," he said.

Mr Stephen Mugoma, Chairman Elgon tourism Network says her death is big blow to the tourism fraternity.

"It's indeed a sad day for the tourism sector in the region because she has been a point of reference to everyone that indeed someone can live that long," Mr Mugoma said.

He, however, blamed government for ignoring his request to support her.

"She would have lived a little longer if government had been supportive of her welfare. This should be lesson that old people need to be appreciated and deserve to be cared for."

Ms Penninah Mugide,76, is the deceased's last born and only surviving child.

Burial has been scheduled for Friday at her ancestral home in Buwanyanga, Busano sub county, Mbale District.

Masela's death occurred just hours before the world celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons today.

This year has seen an emergence of COVID-19,that has caused an upheaval across the world.

Considering the higher risks confronted by older persons during the outbreak of pandemics such as COVID-19, policy and programmatic interventions must be targeted towards raising awareness of their special needs," United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres said in a statement.

According to him, recognizing older persons' contributions to their own health and the multiple roles they play in the preparedness and response phases of current and future pandemics is also important.

Older persons remain chronically invisible despite the Coronavirus pandemic magnifying existing violations of their rights, the humanitarian body said.

UN expert Claudia Mahler called on States to prioritize older persons in the COVID19 recovery phase and beyond.

Data from the World Population Prospects 2019 (revised) says, "...by 2050, one in six people in the world will be over age 65, up from one in 11 in 2019." For the first time in history, 2018 saw people aged 65 and above outnumber children under five globally.

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