Dr Christopher Ugboko of the Federal Ministry of Health has described the inclusion of the elderly health programme in the second National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP11) as a beneficial policy.
He made the observation in Abuja at the Training Programme on Ageing Policy Formulation, Planning and Implementation, jointly organised by the foundation and the International Institute on Ageing United Nations-Malta (INIA).
Ugboko, who is the Head of Gender, Adolescent and Elderly Health Division in the ministry, said “The placement of the elderly health programme in the thematic space of the NSHDP11 is, indeed, a welcome development. It is indicative of the priority which government has placed on this subject and the direction it intends to follow.’’
Ugboko said that in 2010, the first National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP1) for the health sector was launched and it was implemented till 2016.
“A new plan is now in the offing; it is expected to take off from where the previous plan stopped. The management of the Federal Ministry of Health, after due consideration of emerging issues and consultations with stakeholders in the health sector, has incorporated the Elderly Health Care programme as a thematic area in this new plan. The NSHDP11, just like NSHDP1, demonstrates a national commitment to rally around a common strategy to improve the health system with clear and measurable results. It is a compass to guide investments by other stakeholders and the demonstration of accountability,’’ he added.
Ugboko said that the broad objective of the NSHDP11 was to improve the health and wellbeing of the elderly in Nigeria.
He said that the specific aim of the project were to increase the proportion of older persons who were able to access basic and long-term health care to 50 per cent by 2021, while the number of elderly citizens that were active and healthy would be increased to 50 per cent by 2021.
He said that efforts would also be made to establish a sustainable healthcare financing system for health care implementation for older persons by 2019.
He said that plans were also underway to provide adequate and appropriate human resources for the health care of older persons, while suitable information, education and communication (IEC) strategies for the promotion of the wellbeing and care of the elderly would be developed.
However, Ugboko solicited the collaboration of all stakeholders in efforts to ensure the successful implementation of the NSHDP11.
Ugboko said that when the National Social Security Bill was passed into law, a health insurance scheme for the elderly would be introduced.