Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
The Head of Gender Adolescent Health and Elderly issues in the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Christopher Ugbok, has attributed the poor medication of the elder persons in Nigeria to a dearth of geriatricians in the country.
He said that because of the low priority that is placed on the specialty in Nigeria, very few doctors are motivated to specialise in the field.
Ugboko made the declaration at the press conference held in Abuja on how Nigeria can effectively address independence, participation, care and self fulfilment of the elder persons, linking ageing to development agendas.
He explained that a lot of people have the attitude that elder persons have lived their lives and should be left to die, forgetting the importance of their experience in the nation building.
“Our recommendation is that government should think critically about the health and welfare of people above 60 years because it stands to gain alot from these people. Most older persons are bread winners; if they are breadwinners and have nothing, how are they going to take care of the families? There is need for government to think of ways to improve the capability and potentials of elderly persons.
“There are just nine geriatricians in Nigeria and all of them were trained outside the country because there is no specialist college for them in Nigeria.
“Most of the primary health care are functionally focused on maternal health care, but there is no concern for the older persons who live among us in rural communities. Health is the basic information you can give to them for their lives to be improved, not that if you get old you will be left to die.”
Executive Director, Dave Omokaro Foundation, Nigeria, Emem Omokaro, in her remarks stated that older persons are highly marginalised in every areas of life, especially in terms of health care.
“The experiences of older persons need to be addressed in Nigeria. Older men and women in Nigeria largely continue to experience systematic inequality and age discrimination with ageism having a significant negative impact on the realisation of… the AU Agenda 2063 and SDG Agenda 2030,” she said.