Asst. Prof. Maria Carinnes P. Alejandria, PhD of the Department of Sociology served as Editor of the December 2018 book entitled “Aging in the Global South: Challenges and Opportunities,” published by Rowman & Littefield. Alejandria was joined by Subharati Ghosh and Nicolás Sacco in editing.
The book, which talked about the experiences of countries in the global south (usually referred to as third-world countries), tackled issues such as mortality, food insecurity, older adult migration, living arrangements and institutionalized care, income supports and security, and poverty, in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Thailand, Nigeria, India, and the Philippines. The book argued that “aging is steadily evolving as a public health and social crisis for which countries of the global south are ill-prepared.” Alejandria said that countries’ problems are multi-faceted, as seen in lack of policies, or the presence of unimplemented / under-funded policies, as well as societal and cultural barriers.
To cite the case of the Philippines, Alejandria shared her extensive experience in working with families in the Baseco compound, where the elderly not only become carers for their grandchildren, but also income earners again. “Families can earn as little as 70 pesos (USD $1.37) a day in Baseco, which is an area that is plagued by health issues caused by lack of adequate sanitary infrastructure, like toilets and adequate plumbing.” Alejandria said that these multi-faceted problems can and must be addressed through a multi-disciplinary approach and through a convergence of different societal sectors. “The academe can help by researching and pointing out the problems, the experiences, and the realities, while the private sector will come in for funding and [bankrolling] the interventions. Of course, the government will come in when it comes to policies and even financial support.”
The book, which was four years in the making, was the product of a fellowship that Alejandria attended at Brown University, along with her co-editors and writers. Among the contributors is Simbahayan Community Development Office Director Mark Anthony D. Abenir, DSD, who co-wrote the introduction. As a contribution to literature on social health, “this is the first book to bring together varied perspectives on the situation of older adults, and the challenges and opportunities that lie in developing innovative, sustainable programs to support elderly care services.”