By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The week of 30th September marked the celebration of the 2019 International Day of Older Persons in some parts of Nigeria.
A statement signed by its chairman, Prof. John Dada revealed that in Kaduna State, Fantsuam Foundation marked the day with events that included a radio panel discussion by older persons followed by phone-in from the general public, where lack of geriatric services on general hospitals was decried.
This radio programme on Salama Radio, Kafanchan, brought home to many people how invisible our older persons have become and the challenges they are facing.
The issues discussed by the panel included the increasing incidence of older persons who have to resort to begging for their daily food, the absence of government financial support such as obtains in Ekiti State where older persons are provided a monthly stipend.
The increasing frailty of older persons is made worse by the lack of dedicated geriatric services at the General Hospital.
Public transport of okada has caused many older persons to suffer fractures fro falls.
From being regarded as an asset to their communities, many older persons are now regarded as burdens by their families and communities.
The emphasis of this year’s Day Of Older Person is to promote respect and dignity of Older Persons and reject ageism.
The Executive Committee of JOPA paid a curtesy visit to the Medical Director of General Hospital, Kafanchan.
The visit is to solicit his support for dedicated geriatric OPD and Ward services for older persons at the hospital.
It informed that the Committee delivered a letter to Dr. Samuel Kure for delivery to His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Malam el-Rufai, asking him to facilitate the implementation of his government’s social inclusion programme.
The statement said that the impact of the programme is yet to be felt by most older persons in Kaduna State.
“At the major celebration of the day on October 3, the key note address was delivered by the Jema’a Local Government Chairman, Honourable Averik under the distinguished chairmanship of elder statesman, Colonel Boman Kachim (rtd).
“The programme included singing, dancing and age-appropriate physical exercises, followed by free health checks and lunch for the older persons.
“The highlight of the occasion was the recognition of the Ambassador For Older Persons, Mrs. Rhoda Gyang.
“This is the first time such a role is being recognized in Nigeria and Fantsuam Foundation is proud to be associated with this important landmark in the journey for equitable recognition for Nigeria’s older persons,” it stated.