Home Healthcare Foundation urges FG to establish agency for elderly care

Foundation urges FG to establish agency for elderly care

Elderly - lagospost.ng

A Non-Governmental Organisation, the Advocacy for Widows Empowerment Foundation, has appealed to the Federal Government to create a separate agency to see to the welfare of elderly people in Nigeria.

The Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Mr. Willie Workman, advised in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos.

Workman said many poor and vulnerable older people in Nigeria have died because they had no one to care for or speak for them.

According to him, the government must prioritise the well-being of the elderly by creating an agency for their welfare and progress in society.

He said the existing Senior Citizens Centre is not optimally functioning to be able to implement targeted initiatives, especially in the rural areas, to improve the welfare of the elderly.

He said many elderly people were lonely, neglected, and impoverished, stressing that issues that affect their health, and social and economic well-being should be improved upon to make their lives more satisfying.

Workman also said that in setting up the agency, offices should be located in every Local Government Area to ensure the inclusion of the elderly at the grassroots level.

He also suggested that addressing the issue of pension and gratuity should be a top priority and mandate of the agency as most elderly have been denied their rights in that regard.

“A lot of elderly persons in Nigeria are faced with the challenge of exclusion. A lot of them who do not have children or relatives to pursue their pension and gratuity are being denied such incentives.

“By the time you are 45 in Nigeria, you are excluded from the job market, finances, and some socio-economic programmes.

“It has become pertinent for the government to consider total inclusion of older people by recognising and protecting their human rights; which can be achieved if an agency is set up to man their affairs,” Workman said.

He also enjoined the government to come up with some palliatives for the elderly in the form of allowances, free medical services, and recreational facilities to improve their mental health.

According to him, older people in Nigeria suffer exclusion from developmental plans such as the Health Insurance Scheme coverage, and ageing incentives, among others.

“There is a need for universal basic healthcare coverage and provision of health insurance to aged persons, especially the rural community dwellers.

“Reducing poverty, improving nutrition and making sure people have access to safe water and sanitation as well as strengthening national health systems, are of the utmost importance,” he said.




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