"We're the forgotten ones, they care about the women and children, but what about us?": Exploring the challenges to health and wellbeing among aging populations in Uganda

Authors: Andrea Rishworth*, University of Waterloo, Susan J Elliott , University of Waterloo
Topics: Africa, Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: Aging, Sub-Saharan Africa, Health and wellbeing, Global health inequalities, Policy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Mid-City, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


While populations are rapidly aging throughout the world, sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is projected to see the largest absolute rise of its older population increasing 13-fold by the end of the century. Yet, SSA will remain the youngest world region, characterized by a vast population of children and youth. This raises particular challenges for resource allocation and equitable distribution of health and social services. Though aging in SSA is unfolding in contexts marked by high rates of income inequality, severely limited social security and increasing disease burdens, including both infectious and chronic disease, little is known regarding the particular challenges to health and wellbeing of the elderly in these contexts. Drawing on theories of political ecology and data from in depth interviews and focus group discussions with elderly men and women (50 years+), this paper presents preliminary findings on the determinants of health hand wellbeing among aging populations in Uganda. Findings suggest concomitant individual (age, gender, family composition), socio-structural (political, socioeconomic), and biophysical factors (climatic conditions, droughts) inform and severely challenge the health and wellbeing of elderly men and women. The paper provides a nuanced understanding of gendered determinants of health and wellbeing among the elderly in Uganda and supports the need for government action and policies to address the needs of this growing demographic.

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