By Edith Nwapi
Abuja – Mr Tony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary (ES) of National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday called for the inclusion of older persons in National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)
Ojukwu made this call in Abuja at an event in collaboration with Dave Omokaro Foundation and Ministry of Health to make this year commemoration of the International Day of the Older Persons which is celebrated every Oct. 1.
The theme of the 2019 UN International Day of Older Persons “The Journey to Age Equality” focuses on pathways of coping with existing and preventing future old age inequality.
He added that the need to combat the threat posed by the neglect and abuse of older persons is imminent, such lack or denial of human rights, it’s public health and social consequence is profound.
” Therefore, immediate and comprehensive invention is very apt at this material time.
” Poor older persons in Nigeria are medically and socially affected or neglected due to lack of access to health and social care.
” improving the rights and welfare of these category of persons is a task we must undertake ” he said.
Adding that failure to that will have negative effect on the older persons and would translate to denial of their own rights.
According to Ojukwu, the inclusion of older persons in NHIS would enable universal health coverage in line with this year’s UN theme.
He said that WHO has launched the lntegrated care for the older persons (ICOPE) toolkits which aimed at revolutionizing care of older persons.
He said this was seen as a paradigm shift for the right of older persons, which will also assist policy makers, health and social care workers to improve the functional abilities of older persons.
The ES said , that according to WHO, by 2030 the number of people 60 years and older will grow by 56% going from 962 million in 2017 to 1.4 billion by 2030.
He said by 2050,it is estimated that the global population of older persons will rise to 2.1 billion and this growth Will be fastest developing countries such as Nigeria.
Adding, Ojukwu noted that according to the Population Reference Bureau, in Nigeria those aged 65 and above made up about 3.1 per cent of the total population that is 5.9 million out of the total population.
” This number is too significant to be ignored as to protection of their rights.
” Therefore, in the spirit of inclusiveness, we must nationally and collectively reposition and reinforce all the necessary strategies required in the journey to age equality and ensure the realisation of the rights of older persons ” he said.
In her good will message, Dr Emem Omokaro Executive Director, Dave Omokaro Foundation pointed out that inequality could be eliminated in various ways.
According to her, this could be done through respect for human rights, also through Life cause approach which bestowed right to be empowered for development and participation.
Omokaro stated that all the approaches are grounded in human rights and respect for humanity.
She said the theme for the commemoration aimed at ensuring equal opportunity and reduction of inequalities.
According to Omokaro these included measures to eliminate discrimination, and to empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all.
She added irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status as stated in Goal 10 of Sustainable Development.
Dr Saidu Ahmed Dumbulwa, National Co-ordinator, HEPIQ-C of the Federal Ministry of Health in his message said that
He explained that package for the ageing population in Nigeria was as a result of the declaration of members countries in Africa.
He added that the declaration stated that all members must have a budget of programme that can take care of the health and social needs of the aged in Africa.
He said the ministry have been trying to achieve this mandate in the and arw doing a lot to take care of the ageing population.
Dumbulwa stated that, last year the ministry launched national policy framework on effective ageing in a bid to achieve health for the ageing.
Ms Sweet Okundaye, Assistant Director in Federal Ministry of Justice stated that the Senior Citizens Act, 2018 would be revisited.
According to her, Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami has said that very soon who ever violate or neglect the older persons would be brought to book.
Elder Olusoji Sobo, president, Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) said they are going to work on the Bill of 2018 for the elders and represent to the National Assembly for passage.
He said that there are various things that the elders lack and these are the people who have worked hard during their early days for the country. (NAN)