By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
In its efforts to commemorate the World Health Day, the Fantsuam Foundation has involved in advocacy to the Federal Government on the need for a program that will be keen exclusively for the care and protection of older persons across the country.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, Mrs. Kazanka Comfort who stated this to newsmen in her speech delivered at the 70th Anniversary of the World Health Day with the Theme: Universal Health Coverage for Everyone, Everywhere: “Health For All” marked globally on April 7 in Kafanchan, Southern Kaduna, North-West, Nigeria yesterday said the need became imperative for older persons living in various communities where there has been violence recently.
According to her, some older persons have been abandoned in communal attacks, some of them killed, some unable to run away or protect themselves, adding that the same situation applied to other vulnerable members of the community such as people with disabilities.
Mrs. Comfort continued to mention that when Government brought relief materials, no special provision was made for the older persons and other vulnerable people as their care was left entirely to their families.
The Chief Executive Officer was of the opinion that Fantsuam Foundation has been involved in supporting some of the older persons with free medical care, home based care, housing and nutritional support.
“Over the last 8 years, Fantsuam Foundation has made efforts to commemorate the World Health Day by dedicating it to our older persons. This is the 70th Anniversary of the World Health Day “Universal Health Coverage ensures all people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship.
“This emphasis on our older persons is deliberate and it seems it is only Fantsuam Foundation, in Nigeria, that gives them this recognition on this special day.
“In Fantsuam Foundation, we have been supporting some of our older persons with free medical care, home based care, housing and nutritional support.
“Clearly our resources are not enough to extend these services to all deserving older persons. Their care was left entirely to their families.
“We all know the suffering which our older persons go through whenever those of them who earn pension go to collect their money. There are majority of our older persons who do not collect pension because they were self-employed all their life.
She stressed that the Foundation is to provide community-based care and support services for the elderly in the areas of recreation, sports, health, housing, and finance as well as facilitating policy formulation on issues affecting senior citizens but their resources are not enough to extend these services to all deserving older persons.
However, Mrs. Comfort said the Foundation is happy about President Muhammandu Buhari’s approval of the National Senior Citizens Centre Act but lamented that the Government good intentions is not the issue but with implementation and promised to ensure that members of the Jema’a Older Peoples Association truly benefit from this new Law.
“We know for example that the Kaduna State Government since 2015 has been working on an inclusive policy that will cater for women, girls, persons with disabilities and older persons.
“It is obvious that Kaduna State was ahead of the Federal Government in the developing inclusive initiatives for our older persons and other excluded persons. JOPA and Fantsuam Foundation is therefore using this opportunity of the Global 2018 ADA to align ourselves with Kaduna State to promote and ensure that the State delivers on its GESI programs.
“We are therefore hoping that the Chairperson of the Kaduna State National Council of Women Society, Chief Mrs. Deborah Isaac will make it possible for us to meet with the First Lady of Kaduna State, to discuss how our older persons will benefit from this effort of the Kaduna State Government.
In attendance are the Chairman of Jema’a Older Persons Association Chief Apku, Mr. Barnabas Samaila Hakimi Kwagiri, Mrs Naomi Elias, member older persons, Mr. Yashim Bitiyong a retired Civil servant and Emmanuel Sunday Tagwai represented Civil Society Organization.
Others include, Chief Mrs. Deborah Isaac the Chairperson of National Council of Women Society. Mrs. Phoebe Yohanna the Chief Matron of Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, General Hospital moderated the penal discussions.