The Chairman, Dave Omokaro Foundation in Nigeria, Dr Emem Omokaro has called for speedy action to ensure inclusion for older persons in the nation’s policy.
“Inclusiveness of older persons remains a challenge, ” She said. “The poverty alleviation, social security schemes and the efforts to reposition the primary health care and the universal health coverage left older persons behind”.
Omokaro said these when she delivered the stakeholders statement during the 2020 World Elder Abuse day, themed “Older persons and Covid-19: Raising Voices,Breaking the Cycle of Inequality, Discrimination Neglect and Abuse.”
She further noted that older persons have sustainably been left behind and out of the social protection register with no access to health care, social assistance and any form of insurance against shock of any nature.
While stating that older persons are the hardest hit in the Covid-19 Pandemic, she said, ” Covid-19 pandemic spotlights the underlying inequalities and the extra socioeconomic burden that older persons have sustainably dealt with. They are mostly invisible across institutional, policy, research, human resource capacity, data, monitoring and evaluation framework “.
Highlight of the day was the inauguration of the Nigeria Network of Journalists for the Aging, which was performed by the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), who pledged his support to ensure that the rights of older persons are protected.
The inaugurated officials are; Maxwell Esiegbe, Chairman; Joy Idam, Vice Chairman; Francisca Ogar, Secretary; and Hadiza Bala Treasurer.
Speaking, the FCT NUJ Chairman, Emmanuel Ogbeche charged journalists who were inaugurated as pioneer Excos of the Nigeria Network of journalists for the Aging to treat the advocacy for the rights of older persons with the urgency it deserves.
Ogbeche, decried the neglect of older persons in the society, making reference to a few years back when pensioners had to sleep under the bridges in Abuja to access their pension and gratuity after giving the best part of their lives to the service of the nation.
Stakeholders who spoke at the Media roundtable, pointed out the need to mainstream the various issues and challenges faced by older persons.
A case in point was the termination of the National Health Insurance Scheme at the age of 60—A situation which according to a Geriatrician, Dr Ogugua leads to heavy dependence on the younger persons in the family, placing a strain on their finances.
She lamented the lack of human resources in the field of caring for older persons, saying for a country as large as Nigeria to have just 12 Geriatric Doctors nationwide is unacceptable.
The event was organised by the Dave Omokaro Foundation and Nigerian Union of journalists in collaboration with the Gerontology Association of Nigeria.