The Nigerian government has accepted a proposal by Birmingham City University, United Kingdom for partnership on a healthcare package in Nigeria.
The Health Package for Improving Quality Care on Ageing Population and Diseases in Nigeria (HEPIQ-C) seeks to provide a safety net for elderly persons in the country.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, who disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja when a three-man delegation from the university visited him, said the proposal would improve the quality of care for the aged population.
Mr. Adewole said the population profile of Nigeria reveals that the youth constitute 70 per cent, so the country is looking at the aged and planning for the future.
“As Nigeria increases in population; definitely the aged population will increase as a result of demographic transition.
“We have a strong social system where the family looks at the aged, but these are bound to collapse as our population expands”, he warned.
The minister said the government was committed to advancing the care of the elderly so that they would not feel neglected.
He noted that aged people are susceptible to non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes and cancer, stating that it was for this reason that the Federal Ministry of Health accepted to collaborate with the British university on the health package that would improve care for the aged.
He said the package also involved capacity building for health professionals and strengthening of disease control and prevention.
“We will support it to make it done, we need to have a policy framework, and we need to have a strategic development plan that is costed to drive this concept to fruition”, he said.
Hafiz Khan, the leader of the delegation, explained that the principal aim of the concept is to improve access to health of the aged population.
He noted that ageing is a global issue at the moment, hence taking care of the elderly is of paramount importance.
Mr. Khan said there was a need to act now before it is too late.
He said that the concept has two components: International Policy framework for Nigeria as a whole and Social Security, stressing that the policy would be implemented both in the long and short terms.
He assured that the proposal by the university would help in capacity building of health professionals in Nigeria as it has done in Vietnam, China and the Netherlands.
‘’We need to organize training programme for our health professionals in elderly care, dealing with aged people suffering from dementia and mental disorder.’’
Earlier, the Project Coordinator, for HEPIQ-C, Saidu Dumbulwa, said that the aim of the project was in line with the mandate of the health policy of the current administration.
‘’We will evolve a natural world where the aged will have unhindered access to quality healthcare and quality of life,” he added.