Aging Policies in Ghana

A Review of the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty and the National Health Insurance Scheme

Seidu Alidu, Ernestina Dankyi and Antoinette Tsiboe-Darko


Ghana has ratified almost all international legislative instruments aimed at enhancing the welfare of the elderly. At the domestic level, the country has formulated and implemented policies that seek to improve the lives of elderly. Using mainly secondary data and also analysis of research conducted at Ga Mashie in the Greater Accra Region, the paper provides a narrative review of the existing legal framework and the role of state institutions in advancing the interest and welfare of the aged. Two flagship programs, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) and National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), both of which have components intended for the vulnerable including the aged, were evaluated. The most striking similarity in both the LEAP and NHIS interventions (and also the newly introduced EBAN project) is the exclusion of the elderly between the ages of 60 and 64 from qualified beneficiaries. While people within that age bracket are constitutionally classified as elderly, interventions meant for the elderly do not cover them. Also, insufficient funds, poor targeting, and inaccurate implementation and evaluation of data make otherwise well-designed programs intended for the elderly lose their focus and merit. We make three recommendations. First, there is a need for a downward review of the age criteria for beneficiaries of social intervention programs meant for the aged. Second, a mechanism should be developed, going forward, to enable the elderly that have worked in the informal sector throughout their lives, to contribute to and also benefit from the SSNIT pension scheme. Finally, an adequate and reliable database on the elderly should be developed to help improve targeting, implementation, and monitoring of existing social protection programs aimed at the aged.

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