Nigeria set to create social infrastructure for older persons


The Executive Director, Dave Omokaro Foundation (DOF), Dr Emem Omokaro says Nigeria is putting in place a social infrastructure that will enhance the welfare of its older citizens.

Omokaro said this in Abuja in an interview with the press at the end of a five-day training in Ageing and Policy Formulation, jointly organised by DOF and International Institute on Ageing United Nations-Malta (INIA).

According to her, Nigeria is overhauling its systems to ensure that its older citizens are included in its policies.

Omokaro said that it was imperative for the society to maximise every opportunity to include older persons in its development policies and regulations.

She, however, underscored the need to involve those who were knowledgeable in ageing issues in the drafting of ageing policies.

She also said that the policies, which should be comprehensive and multi-sectoral, must adopt a life-course approach which was human-based and capable of engendering inter-sector synergy.

Besides, Omokaro said that the policies should be based on principles that would protect the dignity of older persons as well as their values, inclusion, participation, independence and security.

She stressed the need to promote capacity building and data acquisition, while involving competent personnel in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that understood core ageing issues in plans to mainstream the ageing factor into the sectors.

“Policy must include core living healthcare, continual long-term care, palliative care and continual engagement of older persons; their independence and lifelong learning.

The policy must be multi-sectoral, with a life-course approach that is human-based. It is very important to maximise every opportunity to include older persons in all national development projects,’’ Omokaro said.

Also speaking, Dr Andrew Mbewe of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that having specific policies in place for older persons would facilitate efforts to alleviate some of the challenges they were facing.

He urged the government to adopt the 2016 Global Strategy on Health and Ageing, which underscored the need to include older persons in health schemes so as to attain universal health care.

Besides, Mbewe said that it was important for older persons to improve their functionality, adding that efforts should be made to have facilities that would enable older persons to have hitch-free access to buildings, for instance.

“In Japan and other developed countries, there are social and environmental services that keep older persons going.

But we don’t have such facilities here and older persons in the country need such facilities in order to help them live healthy,’’ he said.

He, therefore, urged all those who were trained in ageing issues and ageing policy formulation processes to become advocates of ageing in the country.