An Abuja-based Non-Governmental Organisation, Save Our Heritage Initiative, has called for increased medical care for the elderly in Nigeria.
The Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, Ms. May Ikokwu, said this during the commemoration of the ‘World Health Day’ while speaking in Abuja on Friday.
Commenting on the theme for the WHD, ‘Health for All’, she stressed the need to guarantee health equity and equality for older persons, irrespective of their social or work classes.
She said that it was time for practical implementation of Universal Health Coverage by including older persons.
Ikokwu said, “Ageing population will have an impact on the ambition of universal health coverage.
“Because without considering the health and social care needs of the ever- increasing numbers of older people, UHC will be impossible to achieve.”
“Equally, SDG 3, ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages, cannot be met without transforming health and social systems”.
She called for a paradigm shift from a focus only on disease, towards the provision of integrated and person-centred care that should be known to have the greatest impact on functional ability in older age.
According to her, the transformation requires organising services to respond to older people’s diverse levels of physical and mental capacities, as well as their needs and preferences.
“Others include extending coverage of services to all older people, particularly those who have been in the informal workforce or who have filled caregiving roles, or have very limited access to even basic services,” she added.
Ikokwu reiterated the need for development of sustainable financing mechanisms, adding that it was imperative to protect older people and their families from undue financial burdens.
She said it would go a long way in providing system incentives for the provision of services needed by older people.