Omokaro calls for speedy action on inclusion for older persons

The Chairman, Dave Omokaro Foundation in Nigeria, Dr Emem Omokaro has called for speedy action to ensure inclusion for older persons in the nation’s policy.

Dr Omokora said this when she delivered the stakeholders statement during the 2020 World Elder Abuse day, themed “Older persons and Covid-19: Raising Voices,Breaking the Cycle of Inequality, Discrimination, Neglect and Abuse.”

According to her, “Inclusiveness of older persons remains a challenge. The poverty alleviation, social security schemes and the efforts to reposition the primary health care and the universal health coverage left older persons behind”.

She further added that older persons have sustainably been left behind and out of the social protection register with no access to health care, social assistance and any form of insurance against shock of any nature.

Dr Omokaro noted that older persons are the hardest hit in the Covid-19 Pandemic.

“Covid-19 pandemic spotlights the underlying inequalities and the extra socioeconomic burden that older persons have sustainably dealt with. They are mostly invisible across institutional,policy, research, human resource capacity, data, monitoring and evaluation framework”.

Highlight of the day was inauguration of Nigeria Network of Journalists for Aging which was performed by the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), who pledged his support to ensure that the rights of older persons are protected.

The inaugurated officials are Maxwell Esiegbe, Chairman, Joy Idam, Vice Chairman, Francisca Ogar ,Secretary and Hadiza Bala Treasurer.

Speaking, the FCT NUJ Chairman, Emmanuel Ogbeche charged journalists who were inaugurated as pioneer Excos of the Nigeria Network of journalists for ageing to treat the advocacy for the rights of older persons with the urgency it deserves. Ogbeche decried the neglect of older persons in our society, making reference to a few years back when pensioners had to sleep under the bridges in Abuja to access their pension and gratuity after giving the beat part of their lives to the service of the nation.

Stakeholders who spoke at the Media roundtable during the event pointed out the need to mainstream the various issues and challenges faced by older persons. A case in point was the termination of the National Heath Insurance Scheme at the age of 60. A situation which according to a Geriatrician Dr Ogugua, leads to heavy dependence on the younger persons in the family, placing a strain on their finances. She lamented the lack of human resource in the field of caring for older persons saying for a country as large as Nigeria to have just 12 Geriatric Doctors nationwide is unacceptable.

The event was organised by the Dave Omokaro Foundation and Nigerian Union of journalists in collaboration with Gerontology Association of Nigeria.

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