universal pensions commence in Zanzibar

Zanzibar’s universal pension scheme is now fully operational. Thought du Jour covered this historic event before, here and here. Sarah Gillam writes that older people in Zanzibar welcome the initiative, but would like to see the age of eligibility reduced to 60 years, and elimination of fees that older people must pay to access healthcare.

Older men and women in Zanzibar will have a government-funded universal pension for the first time today (15 April), the first of its kind in east Africa.

Anyone over the age of 70 will receive a monthly non-contributory pension of Tsh 20,000 (US$9).

Mama Ghanima Othman Juma, 67, [a representative of Zanzibar’s older people] …  urged the government to consider lowering the pension age to 60 and called for the effective implementation of free healthcare, with older people given priority. ….

Although Zanzibar health policy states that older people should receive free healthcare, this policy has not been effectively implemented and therefore requires older people to pay fees when they attend a clinic or hospital.

Sarah Gillam, “Zanzibar’s new universal pension the first of its kind in east Africa“, HelpAge e-Newsletter, 14 April 2016.

See also this blog:

Amleset Tewodros, “Zanzibar: Celebrating a new pension and the life of Bi Kidude“, HelpAge Blog, 15 April 2016.

The legendary Fatuma binti Baraka (c.1910s – 17 April 2013), a native of Zanzibar, was known also as Bi Kidude. She performed as a member of the Shikamo Jazz band of older musicians from Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania.

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