Federal Government has been called to assist older persons in society so as to alleviate some of their challenges.
President Senior Citizens Association of Nigeria (SCAN), Chief Timothy Ore gave the call recently in Lagos during a forum organised by the United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN) to commemorate this years’ International Day for the Older Persons.
Ore, regretted that the government at all levels had not supported the elderly in the society, adding that some of the older persons were really facing a difficult situation.
He lauded UNAN for remembering the aged and added that the health screening exercise which was part of the event would go a long way in helping the older persons to manage their health properly.
Also speaking at the event which came under the theme, “Pandemic: Do change how we address age and ageing “, Secretary-General of UNAN, Engr. Ganiyu Owolabi affirmed that the screening exercise was necessary so as to enable the aged ascertain their health status in order to take necessary precautions.
Quoting the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, Awolabi said: ‘’ The Covid-I9 Pandemic is causing untold fear and suffering for older people across the world. Beyond its immediate health impact, the pandemic is putting older people at greater risk of poverty, discrimination and isolation, it is likely to have a particular devastating impact on older people in the developing world.’’
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He further explained that the health screening was in line with goal 3 of the SDGs which hoped to ensure healthy lives and promote well -being of all at all aged.
On her part, Secretary-General of SCAN, Mrs. Christiana Adefagbemi –Akintoye stressed the need for government to ensure that the senior citizens in the country are respected and regarded in the public places such as banks, hospitals among others.
Akintoye also appealed to government at all levels to ensure that the aged are financially taking care of.
‘’Most of the elders are very poor, their families cannot afford to take care of their needs, we need government intervention. In the advanced world, government takes care of the older persons, but here in Nigeria, nobody is talking about them, they are abandoned. We need government assistance,” she added.
Dr. Adebowale who gave the participants health talk described ignorance as one of the major challenges facing the aged in the society.
According to him, most of the older persons were ignorant of their health condition.
He said: ‘’Where there is ignorance, there is poverty and disease”.
However, he advised that extended family system should be maintained so that children can take adequate care of their aged parents.
A pamphlet on SCAN circulated at the event stated that the association which was established some years back was set to give a new image to the members as well as senior citizens elsewhere with the view to enhancing their respect, honour and integrity anywhere.
Other aims of the association include; To foster spirit of oneness among members; To assist many who are rendered helpless by old age –disabilities caused by stroke, persistent high blood pressure, arthritis, blindness, forgetfulness, mental ailment, stress, diabetes and; To act as an umbrella organisation in pressing for rights and privileges that should be accorded senior citizens in the country.
It is interesting to note that the aged at the event were screened on hypertension, diabetes and other health issues.