By Odunayo Oluwabukola, Ibadan
The President of the Coalition Of Society For The Rights Of Older Person In Nigeria (COSROPIN) who also doubles as the International Coordinator of Graceful Ageing Fellowship (GRAF), Senator (Dr.) Eze Ajoku has called on President Bola Tinubu to prioritize the welfare of the aged people in the society.
Senator Eze Ajoku made the appeal in Ibadan during an Older Persons Hangout 2023, which featured health promotion and counseling, access to national health insurance scheme, inter-generation activities, games such as Ayo Olopon, Draft, Ludo, Chess, Whot Cards, Dancing and Socializing, free medical outreach that include free blood pressure test, free sugar test, free breakfast and free lunch.
In his appeal, Senator Eze said, “Government need to find ways of helping older persons in our society.”
He said, “There should be some monthly incentives for them so they can be using it to buy their drugs and medications.”
“Though, as an organization we are pushing for health insurance for the older persons and also pushing for some monthly incentives for them to be able to have money to buy their drugs and medications. We are equally working with different organizations in different capacity to help them, to defend them, and to also seek government cooperation, so that we can have a national policy on age in this country.”
While speaking on the importance of the aged hangout, Senator Eze said, “We have done this program in nine states and Ibadan is last, the 10th one, we are here purposely to teach older people how to look after themselves, how to live healthy, physical active, and how to care for themselves and how they can look after themselves in the absent of their children.”
“Through this hangout we have also gave them the opportunity to interact with their mate because most old people are in isolation, and this has scientifically proven to be the cause of health challenges most of the face at their age, most of the stay at home with no one talking to them, so we want them to have fresh air, interact with their mate so that they can regain the memory of their youth, we gave them opportunity to play games, do exercise together, dance and share their stories.”
“Through this interaction they will be able to make friend and to network with each other and this is the objective of this program, this has won us internationally recognition within the Commonwealth a nations, so we are appealing to the government at all levels to set up senior citizen centers for our elder ones.”
The older persons should be assign with one or two assignments to do for the development of our society because they have a wealth of knowledge, which should not be wasted, currently government retired a man, the day they retired him, they will withdraw his health insurance and his gratitude is not payed after two years, and these are people that can still contribute a lot to our society if given the basic amenities and proper care required for their age frame. I believe that older people can still contribute greatly to the development of this country, just like what it’s obtainable in advance countries.” Eze said.
In his remarks, Oyo state Coordinator of COSROPIN, Mr Olayinka Ajomale, said “We have discovered over the years that as our people get older, they get socially isolated, there is reduction in the level of their interaction with others, medically it has been proven that loneliness is a great killer, and the whole idea behind this is hangout is to regularly bring older persons together, to socialize them, some of them like playing games, so here we engaged them in some exercises and they interact among themselves. This opportunity will no doubt improve their health status and social lives.
In her words, the Global Program Manager of the VOICE GLOBAL, the funding partner for COSROPIN, Ishita Dutta commended the organization for the initiative and for making life more better for the aged people in the society.
Ahaji Hassan Yusuf, who led delegation from the state office of the National Health Insurance Scheme to the event spoke on why it’s necessary for the aged people to be more concerned about their health. Hassan also educated the elders present at the program on the importance attached to the national health insurance scheme.