As part of the project entitled “Strengthening resilience of older persons and persons with disabilities during COVID-19 and future disasters”, the study “Access to long-term care in North Macedonia” was presented in the premises of the Red Cross of the Republic of North Macedonia. The gathering was opened by the Secretary General of the Red Cross of RNM, Dr. Sait Saiti, Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Jovanka Trenčevska, Minister of Health, Dr. Fatmir Medžiti, as well as representatives of the Red Cross of Serbia, the Association Humanost and SeCons Development Initiative Group that developed this study.
According to the research results, 25.6% of elderly persons in North Macedonia aged 65 and above need long-term care due to their impaired functioning, while 64% of those with disabilities aged 18-64 need long-term care due to extreme difficulties in carrying out daily activities.
The keynote speakers at this gathering concurred that closer cooperation between the health system and the social protection system is necessary in order to provide the elderly and persons with disabilities with the best possible help and care. The Red Cross of the Republic of North Macedonia has been the official source of caregiver training since 2017, in order to ensure the preparation of proficient caregivers and assistants for quality long-term social protection services.
Furthermore, as of 2018, it has been the mandated source of training for personal assistants of persons with disabilities and has been implementing training programs for palliative caregivers of frail individuals and of those afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.
This study was carried out using the same methodology for the whole region, and should serve as a basis for the formulation of recommendations on how to enhance the capacities of the service providers and organizations of the civil society, improve public policies and increase financial contributions. Participants in the gathering pointed out that this approach would ensure better access to long-term care services for the elderly and persons with disabilities in regular circumstances, especially in emergency occurrences such as the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus.
The project “Strengthening resilience of older persons and persons with disabilities during COVID-19 and future disasters“ is supported by the European Union, the Austrian Development Agency and the Austrian Red Cross. This project is coordinated by the Red Cross of Serbia, with the Red Cross of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Association Humanost as its partners in North Macedonia.