Research Article: Predictors of quality of life of older persons in rural Uganda:  A cross sectional study

Date Published: November 9, 2018

Publisher: F1000 Research Limited

Author(s): Fred Maniragaba, Betty Kwagala, Emmanuel Bizimungu, Stephen Ojiambo Wandera, James Ntozi.


Background: Little is known about the quality of life of older persons (OPs) in Uganda in particular, and Africa in general. This study examined factors associated with quality of life of older persons in rural Uganda.

Partial Text

The world is experiencing remarkable and irreversible demographic changes as many people are living longer than ever before
1. Population ageing is a dynamic process that involves physical, psychological and social changes
2. It is expected to advance faster in the developing world including sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)
3. Older persons are defined as persons aged 60 years and older
3. Although the World Health Organization (WHO) uses 50 years and above to define older persons for Africa
4, this study used United Nation’s definition of age 60 years and older, since Uganda’s life expectancy is 63 years
5. Globally, one in every nine persons is an older person. This ratio is expected to reduce to one person in every five people by 2050

This paper is based on a cross sectional study on predictors of quality of life of older persons in rural Uganda. The data were collected from February to March, 2017. The study included both men and women aged 60 years and above. It excluded those who were ill or lacked capacity to provide rational voluntary consent. We did not interview OP’s who were ill. The challenge with interviewing such ill OPs is that some are too weak to sustain the interview as they need to rest. We note, however that this exclusion can bias the outcome of the study. A sample of 912 respondents was calculated basing on survey sampling
17. Multi-stage stratified cluster sampling was used to select respondents from Uganda’s geographical regions of central, eastern, northern and western which constituted the strata. The districts, sub counties, villages and households were randomly selected (
Table 1). In each region, one district was selected within which three sub-counties were also randomly selected. Four villages were selected per sub-county, providing a total of 12 villages per district and hence 48 villages across the country. Simple random sampling was used at each stage of selection.

Age of the respondents, sex, education level, marital status of the OPs, living arrangement, distance to the nearest health facility, water source, fuel type, source of energy and type of toilet facility did not predict the quality of life of older persons in rural Uganda. Concerning region, the poor quality of life for older persons in northern Uganda could perhaps be linked to the protracted war that economically crippled the region. This finding is consistent with previous studies
25 which show that the quality of life of older persons is influenced by living in a safe, resource rich and desirable environment with. In western Uganda particularly Kigezi sub-region where data for this study were collected, poor quality of older persons is in consonance with studies such as Uganda National Household Survey
26 which indicates that the region suffers from a shortage of basic necessities such as inadequate food production.

Older persons’ quality of life was associated with the geographical setting, quality of shelter, resource control and health status. Interventions point to meeting basic needs of shelter, information and health needs of OPs. Policy intervention should also focus on deepening universal and equal access to information by older persons through subsidizing radio prices. This will encourage older persons to own the radios which would avail them with health information from health programmes and minimize loneliness through entrainment. Intervention in strengthening policies focusing on the older persons against HIV/AIDS pandemic should be fast-tracked through initiating adult safe sex education and improved access to Anti-Retroviral drugs especially for those who are already infected. The vulnerability of older persons in terms of access and control of resources calls for policy makers to strengthen economic strengthening strategies with a view of improving self-reliance of older persons. Furthermore, Uganda government’s intervention to mitigate regional disparities in quality of life of OPs should put special attention to northern and western regions where older persons’ quality of life is poor.

The data underlying this study is available from Open Science Framework: Dataset 1. Predictors of quality of life of older persons in rural Uganda: A cross sectional study




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.