Ageing, frailty and resilience in Botswana: rapid ageing, rapid change. Findings from a national working group meeting and literature review

BL Onen , Ciara Harris, Agnieszka Ignatowicz, Justine Davies, Michalis Drouvelis, Andrew Howes, Oathokwa Nkomazana, Churchill Lukwiya Onen, Elizabeth Sapey, Billy Tsima, Dan Lasserson

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The demography of Botswana is rapidly changing. Successes in tackling communicable diseases and economic development increased life expectancy from 53.7 years in 2006 to 66.8 years in 2016. The prevalence of diseases associated with older age, especially chronic non-communicable diseases including diabetes, hypertension and cerebrovascular disease are suspected to have increased but accurate data are lacking. The country has high youth unemployment and national retirement is at the age of 60, which limits the opportunity to build pensions for prosperity in older age. Changes across health, social care and economic policy are needed to prepare for a future ageing population.

This article reports on the national working group meeting outputs on issues that face older people, their families, healthcare providers, and policy makers in Botswana. A collaborative working group meeting was convened in Gaborone, Botswana on 25th September 2018 by the University of Botswana and University of Birmingham, UK, to identify key challenges and opportunities for an ageing Batswana population.

There was agreement across diverse stakeholders of a need for effective and rapid policy formation to prepare and protect the future health and economy of an ageing Batswana population with a high burden of NCDs. The main priorities for policy-makers must be social care, poverty reduction and healthcare provision, conducted in an evidence-based manner, as far as practicable. To effectively achieve this, research and high-quality data collection mechanisms are required.

Future policy in Botswana must focus on the challenges that an ageing population brings, and development of health and care system resilience for the demographic change could be a model for healthcare policy across Southern Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalBMC Proceedings
Issue numberSuppl 10
Early online date19 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2019


  • Ageing
  • Botswana
  • Older people
  • Research and policy recommendations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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