Pensioners talk health matters

Dewan Chand Maharaj (middle) meets the pensioners during the Fiji Pensioners AGM at Fiji Football Association HQ in Vatuwaqa on Saturday, July 28, 2018. Picture: RAMA

HEALTH issues topped the agenda of the Fiji Pensioners Association annual general meeting held at Vatuwaqa in Suva in yesterday.

The 70-plus pensioners who attended, age ranging from 60 to 90-plus years old, were reminded to continue to look after their health, watch the type of food they eat, keep at their exercise routines, and indulge in some form of social activities to eliminate the introduction of loneliness that can lead to depression.

Former Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma, who was chief guest at the AGM, stressed those points to the pensioners emphasising its health benefits to their well-being, and to enjoy good health.

And two issues, at least, were discussed at great lengths, one being the provision of health services to senior citizens in the country; and driving licenses for those over 70-years-old.

Association president Hari Ram Naicker said the members would be making a request to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services for a special department in hospitals for senior citizens.

He reasoned senior citizens would not have to wait long hours before accessing required medical services.

Pensioners also discussed their concern in what they described as “discrimination” in the issuance of driver licenses to folks over the age of 70 years.

“The members felt that they were being discriminated against in the issue of driving licenses. Senior citizens are safe drivers and don’t cause road accidents,” Mr Naicker said in an interview with Fiji Times Online.

He said the younger ones, who were getting involved in accidents, were “privileged” and had their licenses renewed for six years.

On the contrary, Mr Naicker said senior citizens were required to obtain a doctor’s certificate, they had to write a letter stating why they would not need to take another driving test, and it cost them $75 to obtain a license that was renewed for only a year.

He said compared to overseas countries, senior citizens were only required to undergo eye tests to determine whether or not they would get a driver license.

He said they would be pursuing those issues, among others, with relevant authorities, and an expectation of the Government to take care of senior citizens.

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