By Oluwafunke Ishola
An NGO, United Way Greater Nigeria (UWGN), has appealed to the Federal Government to ensure interventions through the National Senior Citizens Centre reached the vulnerable elderly at the grassroots.
The group’s Executive Director, Dr Adetoun Ilumoka, made the appeal during the UWGN Day of Action programme in Lagos.
The Day of Action is an annual day of service where members of the NGO support other organisations and individual volunteers to
fight for health, education and financial stability of communities.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had on May 31, approved the take-off of the National Senior Citizens’ Centre.
The centre was established to develop and implement productive activities, social protection and work schemes for senior citizens to improve their quality of life.
Ilumoka noted that government should ensure activities of the centre were apolitical and impacted the lives of the elderly, particularly the poorer ones across various communities.
She said “it is not the retiree that retired at level 17 that needs the money or intervention from government.
“It is the vulnerable senior citizens with nobody to take care of them. There is need to include them in some form
of intervention programme to make life comfortable for them.”
On the UWGN Day of Action, Ilumoka said that the outreach was to draw attention to the health challenges
of the elderly, and how government and concerned citizens could address them.
She added that “deteriorating economic conditions prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic has presented
unique challenges for the aged in Nigeria.
“These senior citizens have worked all their lives. We need to hear from them on what they want and how to make life better for them.”
She explained that the outreach was done in partnership with Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN), NARP50+, and public health experts from Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
Mrs Olubunmi Sodade, the Executive Director of NARP50+, said that structures should be established to cater for the elderly in the society.
Sodade noted that many elderly people were lonely and impoverished, noting that issues that affected their health, social and economic wellbeing should be improved to make life easy for them.
Also, Dr Doyin Ogunyemi, the Public Health Consultant, LUTH, advised the elderly on constant health checkups, eating healthy meals to avoid malnutrition and avoiding unhealthy health practices.
NAN reports that the outreach includes health talk, blood pressure check, counselling and food distribution.(NAN)