Ageing and mental health resources for older persons in the African region of the World Health Organization

  • CA Lima
  • A Leibing
  • R Buschfort


Abstract. Africa is a region where a demographic transition from high child mortality and low life expectancy, to low child mortality and high life expectancy is only just beginning. Nevertheless, some countries already have a growing number of persons over the age of 60 – a number that is likely to increase rapidly. As a consequence, the number of older persons with mental disorders is likely to increase. To better understand the organisation of care for older persons, data are being collected to reduce the imbalance between ‘disease information\' and ‘resource information\' – information that addresses older persons\' needs in terms of mental health care. This review presents some results from the continent. Mental health problems among older adults are still not a public health priority in Africa, but careful examination of each country nevertheless reveals certain specificities, such as divergent life expectancy and different values regarding ageing. The authors present some recommendations for the development of care for old persons with mental disorders, based on the general recommendations made by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the World Health Report 2001 (WHR 2001), and by the WHO and the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) in some consensus statements on psychiatry of the elderly.

South African Journal of Psychiatry Vol. 14 (1) 2008: pp. 8-12

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eISSN: 2078-6786
print ISSN: 1608-9685