By Fortune Abang
The National Senior Citizens’ Centre (NSCC), in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, on Saturday, embarked on medical outreach to boost the wellbeing of older persons.
The outreach was put together by the centre and the ministry in Karu community, Abuja, as part of activities to mark this year’s International Day of Older Persons in Nigeria, often celebrated globally on Oct.1, annually.
The Director General of NSCC, Dr Emem Omokaro, while briefing newsmen at the event, said that the outreach had become important to tackle challenges often faced by older persons in the community.
“The challenges older persons face varies; apart from heath they have income, security, loneliness, and discrimination, therefore, the medical outreach.
“The outreach is a critical area that the centre is concerned about, to ensure inclusive primary healthcare and its functions.
“When we talk about inclusion, we mean mainstreaming elderly people in primary healthcare, in terms of health insurance coverage, promotion of healthy living and nutrition.
“Apart from giving them health checks, we are also using the opportunity to ask them questions, as means to achieving targets.”
She explained that the centre had put up a 10-year strategic plan, to structure the capacity for more engagement with relevant partners, to identify and cater for older persons.
Also speaking at the event, Dr Felix Oyare, Consultant, Community Health Physician, said that from 45 years and above, changes start to take place in the human body.
According to him, a greater percentage of Nigerians, aged 60 years and above, are either hypertensive, diabetic or have a combination of the two health issues.
“As people get to 50 years they begin to change; some people even starts at 45 years of age, to have health problems.
“We should be able to prepare people, so that they can age gracefully, particularly what they do, how they do it and what they eat,” Oyare said.
A beneficiary, who pleaded anonymity, commended the initiative as the right step in the right direction on raising the hope of aged Nigerians.
“This initiative is 100 per cent okay, if government can only comply with what they said, this is because it is giving hope to older persons,” he said.
Another beneficiary, who also pleaded anonymity, prayed government to prioritize the medical outreach initiative, to achieve desired goals.
“I pray government takes this project seriously; I remember when the present administration came in 2015, they promised to meet the yearnings of older people.
“It is yet to fulfil its promise, if they can do that, it will help to raise the hope of elderly people and even, elongate their lifespan,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Centre was established by the NSCC Act of 2017 of the National Assembly, as a focal agency to identify the needs of senior citizens and to cater for them.
The outreach featured free medical check-ups, free eye checks, testing and treatment, as well as guidance and counselling. (NAN)