Elderly population in Sub-Saharan Africa to reach 67 million by 2025
Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for more support for elderly people especially with the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti made the call in a message to mark the International Day of Older Persons 2020 and made available to newsmen through the organisation’s field office in Maiduguri, Borno State.
Moeti said the COVID-19 has placed a disproportionate burden on older people. She urged people to help the senior citizens, phone them, shield them from the pandemic by wearing facemasks and keeping physical distancing as preventive measures to keep them safe.
‘With restrictions on movement and gathering, social isolation of older people is also a concern. We can contribute to addressing this by picking up the phone to call our senior relatives and offering to assist older people in our communities or keep them company;’ she said.
She said older persons provide love to people around them while some retired health personnel had returned to work in the wake of the epidrmic to give medical supports to COVID-19 patients. She urged people to reciprocate such gesture through love.
She said more people in Africa now live longer than before, adding that the population of older people in Sub-Saharan Africa could reach 67 million by 2025 and 163 million by 2050.
She said WHO was currently working with 40 African countries to build capacity for the integrated care of older people, with an approach centring on ‘community-based care, early detection and management of declines in physical and mental capacities, and supporting household caregivers.’
The International Day of Older Persons is an annual event to celebrate senior citizens around the world.This year’s theme according is “Persons Pandemics: Do they change how we address age and ageing?”