From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons (COSROPIN), has demanded a quick passage of a bill which would ensure that elderly people get at least 50% discount and exemption from the value-added tax on medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in both private and government owned hospitals.
The organization also proposed that public hospitals should establish geriatric wards exclusively for older persons, adding that government should ensure that education for older persons particularly those with visual and hearing challenges be delivered in the most appropriate languages and mode of communication.
Its President, Senator Eze Ajoku, who stated this after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Federation on Ageing Nigeria (IFAN) yesterday in Abuja, explained that the partnership would foster the creation of a National Elderly Parliament (NEP).
“We are confident that the Speaker and his colleagues will see need to pass it as did the Senate. Being old is natural for all and this bill will apply to all with time. We exited with some of the provisions as passed by the Senate as they will benefit older persons,” he said.
Ajoku added that the alliance will help maximise, utilise the “wisdom, experiences, and network of older statesmen with integrity and pedigree drawn from various geo-political zones of Nigeria as an alternative conflict resolution and peace building mechanism for the nation.
“It will provide a retirement village which is a mini-elderly entrepreneurial cooperative and industrial clusters; powered by seniors from school, farming, library support services.
“It will incorporate geriatric training centres; no much formal skill exists for medical/healthcare and social response programmes.”
Meanwhile, IFAN Country’s President, Ike Willie-Nwobu, added that “neglect of the elderly reduces and munis national strength and productivity; promotes and project corruption.
According to him, “elders are major national cultural resources and mobilization, democratization and cooperation.”