By Lucky Isibor,
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has enumerated measures being taken by the Federal Government to enhance the health of the elderly in Nigeria, adding that government is putting strategies and programmes in place to improve the ageing process.
Dr. Ehanire stated this while declaring open the first international training of trainers in Geriatrics and the launch of Elderly Friendly Hospitals Initiative, ELDFRHI at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH Monday, March 9, 2020.
According to the Minister, “in furtherance of regional commitment, Nigeria launched the Healthcare Package for Improving Quality of Care of ageing population (HEPIQ-C) project, aimed at addressing health care and social issues of older persons through four thematic pillars, which are Clinical Care, Training of Healthcare workforce, Research and Development on Ageing and Health Social Support.
“In December, 2018, we launched a Policy Framework on Healthy Ageing at the first National Summit on Healthy Ageing in Nigeria. The policy is a first of its kind in Sub-Saharan African, and has provided a model for healthcare and social support of older persons in the region. The policy framework supports achieving universal healthcare coverage through creating a non-contributory health insurance scheme.
“We have begun postgraduate residency for doctors as well as certificate training in Geriatrics for healthcare workers in some institutions while some students are presently supported for PhD programnes in Health and Ageing, in collaboration with the University of West London (UWL).
“We are also committed to working with the National Pension Commission, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) and National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to ensure that formal sector retirees retain the benefit of their NHIS up to age 70, before switching-over to the National Non-Contributory Health Insurance Scheme.
“As part of the programme, I shall today be launching the Elder Friendly Hospital Initiative, that addresses the personal care and the environmental needs of the elderly, ensuring that amenities in facilities are tailored to their peculiar needs”.
Welcoming guests and participants to the training workshop, the Chief Medical Director of UBTH, Prof. Darlington Obaseki pointed out that the Geriatrics ward was opened on March 17, 2014 to render specialised service to the elderly adding that it has impacted greatly on the health of the elderly.
The Chief Medical Director who noted that the hospital is also at the fore front in building capacity in Geriatrics for multi-disciplineary professionals drawn from the three levels of the health sector- primary, secondary, tertiary- private sector and related discipline.
“University of Benin Teaching Hospital is taking the lead in providing ‘locally relevant and affordable training’ of international standard to multi-disciplinary professionals drawn from the three levels of the health sector (primary, secondary, tertiary), private sectors and related disciplines. We are pleased to announce that a lawyer and a clergy attended the 2019 national training.
“Geriatrics services in UBTH have impacted greatly on the health of older persons, such that the 15-bedded ward has increased to 20, yet utilization demand by older persons and their relatives keeps increasing, thereby creating a strong need for a comprehensive geriatric centre with expanded space and improved equipment. This is also why training and retraining of healthcare providers is apt to proactively solve manpower future needs that may arise.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health has confirmed the second case of coronavirus in the country.
Minister of Health, Osagie Enahire disclosed this while briefing journalists at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital in Edo State pointing out that the second case was a man who had contact with the Italian who imported coronavirus into the country.
Ehanire said the patient, who has been in isolation in the last two weeks tested positive on March 8 and is now under quarantine.