COVID-19: WHO says Nigeria should expand elder care

Okwe Obi, Abuja, FCT

In commemoration of the 2020 International Day of Older Persons, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged Nigerian to increase care for senior citizens, especially at a time the world is ravaged by COVID-19 pandemic.

WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti, who spoke on Wednesday in Abuja, FCT, said the organisation would work with 40 African countries including Nigeria to build capacity for the integrated care of older people, “an approach that centres on community-based care, early detection and management of declines in physical and mental capacities, and supporting household caregivers.”

Represented by Country Representatives, Walter Kazadi, the WHO Regional Director stated: ‘The International Day of Older Persons is an annual celebration of senior citizens around the world and a chance to take stock of the opportunities and challenges related to population ageing towards ensuring societies are accommodating of all ages.

‘Our elders provide us with love and care, and are a source of wisdom and talent, influencing who we are and who we aspire to be. Together we have a duty to support older people in realising their human rights and living with dignity.

‘At WHO, we are working with 40 African countries to build capacity for the integrated care of older people, an approach that centres on community-based care, early detection and management of declines in physical and mental capacities, and supporting household caregivers.

‘In line with the Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health 2016–2020, twenty-three African countries have multi-sectoral healthy ageing policies and strategic plans.’

Meanwhile, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Social Development and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouq, said the Federal Government would soon commence the establishment of the National Senior Citizens Center which would provide training and opportunities for them.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary Alhaji Nura Alkali, the Minister said: ‘The Center will be equipped with facilities designed for the enjoyment and benefit of senior citizens.’


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