Speciality of geriatrics is marginalised in Tunisia, faces several difficulties (Doctors)

The speciality of geriatrics is marginalised in Tunisia and faces a number of difficulties, particularly with regard to the care of the elderly, according to geriatricians who took part in the 2nd Tunisian meeting of geriatrics organised Friday by the Tunisian Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology (STGG) on the theme of “the fragility of the elderly”. President of the STGG, Imen Ksontini, pointed out that Tunisia is experiencing an ageing population, with 11.4% of the population aged over 60, which is expected to rise to 18% by 2030. She stressed the need to improve the quality of care for the elderly and make this issue a priority. For her part, Dr. Maha Ben Maalem Hachicha, secretary-general of the STGG, said in a statement to TAP on the sidelines of the second two-day geriatrics meeting that geriatrics is not taught as a separate speciality in Tunisia, as it is simply a training course given to doctors regardless of their speciality. She pointed to the lack of geriatric units in public hospitals and private clinics, despite the specificities of caring for the elderly, which require equipment adapted to their physical and health fragility. Dr. Hachicha deplored the lack of qualified paramedical staff trained in this field and the lack of published regulations on the conditions under which elderly people can be hospitalised at home; this deprives this category of people of social security cover and the right to have their hospitalisation costs paid for by the CNAM, she pointed out. In addition, geriatrician Nizar Ktari criticised the lack of vaccination records for the elderly and the failure to regularly renew vaccinations against a number of diseases, which he said exposes them to the risk of relapse and even death. In this context, he stressed the need to spread the culture of “successful ageing” in Tunisia, so that adults from the age of 50 are prepared to take part in sports activities, adopt a healthy diet and undergo regular check-ups.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse