NGOs advocate establishment of platform to cater for elderly in Nigeria

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By Franca Ofili
Abuja, Oct. 1, 2020 Dewdrop Foundation (DDF), and Centre for Gender Economics Africa (CGE Africa), NGOs, have called on the Federal Government to establish a platform for key players to champion the cause of the ageing population.

Ms Nneka Egbuna, Assistant Programme Coordinator, Dewdrop Foundation, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Thursday as the world celebrates International Day For Older Persons.

The theme is: “Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing’’.

Egbuna said that the NGOs also called for the implementation of sensitisation campaigns and caregiver training on dementia as one of the causes of elder abuse by state healthcare systems.

Dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities.

According to her, it is very important for them to be included in all development plans.

“Poor planning for the aged impacts all facets of the society such as labour and financial markets, education, housing, health and social care, social protection, transport, information, communication, family structures and inter-generational ties,’’ she said.

She said that the NGOs were currently implementing an 18-month project funded by Oxfam/Voice, which focuses on curtailing elder abuse in 11 communities in Enugu State.

She said that the state was selected as a pilot state because of the rate of elderly abuse in there as well as the lack of legislation to protect them and improve their welfare.

“The total selected project communities are 11, namely, Umuode, Akpuoga-Nike, AmechiIdodo, Isigwe Ugbawka, Ndiagu-Owo, Ogonogoeji Ndiuno Akpugo, Ogbeke/Ukuruta Agbani, Ojiagu Agbani, Ishienu Nkerefi, Akwuke and Akwuke-Uwani,’’ Egbuna said.

She said that the project would create platforms for older persons to speak up about issues of concern to them.
Egbuna, however, noted that findings from baseline survey established that older persons experienced physical, emotional, neglect, sexual and financial abuse.

She noted that almost three in 10 older persons across 10 communities reported to have experienced some form of abuse and/or neglect.

“Emotional abuse was the most common type of abuse observed, followed by neglect, then financial abuse, sexual abuse and physical abuse.

“Of those who were physically abused, many of them had broken bones.“

According to her, the lives of more than 1000 elderly people in the state have been touched by the project and 11 safe spaces have also been established for them in their communities.

She said that 20 young people from the community had been selected to receive monthly training that enables them to actively advocate for and sensitise others about elder abuse and care of elderly persons among other things.

Egbuna said that consultations were currently ongoing to establish a community of practice comprising local and regional organisations and individuals promoting the welfare and wellbeing of older persons.

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