This past month South Africans have been on edge. Nelson Mandela has spent four weeks in a Pretoria hospital with a recurring lung infection. While we hope that Mandela’s health improves, there are at present senior citizens who cannot afford sufficient medical care in South Africa. The situation is more problematic because advocates for the elderly state that the services for senior citizens have dramatically decreased in the last two decades.
According to Anita Powell, Southern Africa reporter for Voice of America, few among South Africa’s rapidly growing elderly population are faring well, health wise, due to economic insecurity which is linked with better health outcomes. Elderly advocates insist that Mandela is not the standard by which South Africa’s treatment of its weakest members should be judged because the nation’s growing elderly population is increasingly marginalized by a government that has focused its health care on the young. While child health is very important, the health care needs of the elderly should not be overlooked especially in a nation with only eight registered geriatric doctors (International Longevity Center-South Africa). This video portrays the work of the Ikaheng Daycare Centre for the Aged in the South African Township of Ikaheng.