The Nigerian Government and the Birmingham City University, United Kingdom are partnering to provide healthcare package and safety net for the aged population in Nigeria.
Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole stated this in Abuja, when a 3-man delegation from Birmingham City University led by Prof.Hafiz Khan paid him a courtesy visit to present a proposal on how to improve quality care for the aged population.
Professor Adewole said: ‘’When you look at our population profile, we are a youthful population with about 70% youth and 30% elderly, so when we look at the aged, we are planning for the future.’’
He noted that as Nigeria increases in population; definitely the aged population will increase as a result of demographic transition adding that Nigeria needs to look at the issue of the elderly in the context of our social system.
‘’We have a strong social system where the family looks at the aged, but these are bound to collapse as our population expands,’’ the Minister explained.
Prof. Adewole said that the APC led Government was committed to advancing the course of the elderly so that they would not felt neglected noting that aged people are susceptible to non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes and cancer.
To this end, he said the Federal Ministry of Health was collaborating with the Birmingham City University to prepare a health package for improving quality care for the aged in the country as well as capacity building for health professionals and strengthening of disease control and prevention and healthy ageing.
He assured the delegation that the Nigerian government would support the concept. In his words: “We will support it to make it done, we need to have a policy framework, and we need to have a strategic development plan that is coasted to drive this concept to fruition.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Prof. Hafiz Khan of Birmingham City University explained that the intent of the concept was to improve access to health of the aged population adding that at the moment, ageing is a global issue hence taking care of the elderly is of paramount importance. He said: ‘’we should act now before it is too late’’.
He said that the concept has two components-International Policy frameworks for Nigeria as a whole and Social Security stressing that the policy would be implemented both in the long term and short term.
He gave the assurance that they would help in capacity building of health professionals in the country adding that they have done it in Vietnam, China and the Netherlands and would be replicated in Nigeria.
“We need to organise training Programmes for our health professionals in elderly care dealing with aged people suffering from dementia and mental disorder,’’ he stated.
Earlier, the Project Coordinator, Health Package for Improving Quality Care on Ageing Population and Diseases in Nigeria, (HEPIQ-C), Dr. Saidu Ahmed Dumbulwa, said that the aim of the project was in tandem with the mandate of the government health policy of this current administration and to dedicate the benefit of the collaboration to the elderly in our society by helping the aged and their family members to overcome the challenges of ageing.
‘’We will evolve a natural world where the aged will have unhindered access to quality healthcare and quality of life’’.