Tuesday December 11, 2018

Gobal Care Crisis Rises Along With Growing Population

The report finds the majority of care globally is done by unpaid caregivers

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An elderly Chinese woman accompanied by her caregiver walks down a tree lined lane in Changchun in northeastern China's Jilin province, Aug. 27, 2010.
An elderly Chinese woman accompanied by her caregiver walks down a tree lined lane in Changchun in northeastern China's Jilin province, Aug. 27, 2010. VOA
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The International Labor Organization (ILO) says urgent action is needed to avert a global crisis as the number of people, including children and elderly, needing care rises, The warning is part of a new ILO report on care work and care jobs unveiled Thursday in Geneva.

The ILO cautions that the global care crisis will become a reality in coming years without a doubling of investment. Authors of the report say $5.5 trillion was spent in 2015 on education, health and social work. They say that amount must be increased to $18.4 trillion by 2030 to prevent the care system from falling apart.

The report finds the majority of care globally is done by unpaid caregivers, mostly women and girls, and that it is a major barrier preventing women from getting paid jobs. It says this reality not only hampers their economic opportunities, but stifles development prospects.

Lead author Laura Addati tells VOA 606 million women, compared to 41 million men, are unable to get paid employment because they have to care for a family member.

“This pool of participants who are lost to the labor force could be activated, … [put in] jobs that could benefit society. A part of these jobs could be career [caregiver] jobs, so as we well pointed out, there could be basically an activation process to sort of replace some of those jobs, so making those who were unpaid, paid care workers,” she said.

A deaf-blind woman (R) is led by a caregiver at Santa Angela de la Cruz Center in Salteras, near Seville, Spain, June 6, 2011.
A deaf-blind woman (R) is led by a caregiver at Santa Angela de la Cruz Center in Salteras, near Seville, Spain, June 6, 2011. VOA

Addati says more people nowadays are part of nuclear families, eroding the concept of extended households, which used to play an important role in caring for family members. She says that is increasing the demand for more caregivers in smaller households.

The report finds that more than 380 million people globally are care workers. It says two-thirds are women. In Europe, the Americas and Central Asia, three-quarters of all care workers are women. The report notes long-term care services are practically non-existent in most African, Latin American and Asian countries.

Also read: International Migrants Day & global migrant crisis

The ILO says about 269 million jobs could be created if investment in education, health and social work were doubled by 2030, easing the global care crisis. (VOA)

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Half The Global Population Uses The Internet: ITU Report

The ITU says countries that are hooked into the digital economy do better in their overall economic well-being and competitiveness.

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Nigeria, Population
Youths are seen browsing the internet inside the venue of the launch of Google free wifi project in Lagos, Nigeria. VOA

The International Telecommunication Union reports that for the first time in history, half of the global population is using the internet. A new report finds by the end of the year, 3.9 billion people worldwide will be online.

The report finds access to and use of information and communication technologies around the world is trending upwards. It notes most internet users are in developed countries, with more than 80 percent of their populations online. But it says internet use is steadily growing in developing countries, increasing from 7.7 percent in 2005 to 45.3 percent this year.

The International Telecommunication Union says Africa is the region with the strongest growth, where the percentage of people using the internet has increased from just over two percent in 2005 to nearly 25 percent in 2018.

Somalia, Population
A Somali man browses the internet on his mobile phone at a beach in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. VOA

The lowest growth rates, it says, are in Europe and the Americas, with the lowest usage found in the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to data on internet usage, newly released statistics show mobile access to basic telecommunication services is becoming more predominant. ITU Senior Statistician, Esperanza Magpantay says access to higher speed mobile and fixed broadband also is growing.

“So, there is almost 96 percent of the population who are now covered by mobile population signal of which 90 percent are covered by 3G access. So, this is a high figure, and this helps explain why we have this 51 percent of the population now using the internet,” she said.

With the growth in mobile broadband, Magpantay says there has been an upsurge in the number of people using the internet through their mobile devices.

Nairobi, Population
Young men surf the internet at a cyber cafe on June 20, 2012 in Kibera slum in Nairobi.

The ITU says countries that are hooked into the digital economy do better in their overall economic well-being and competitiveness. Unfortunately, it says the cost of accessing telecommunication networks remains too high and unaffordable for many.

Also Read: Global Care Crisis Rises Along With Growing Population

It says prices must be brought down to make the digital economy a reality for the half the world’s people who do not, as yet, use the internet. (VOA)