The Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN), is a body of Non-Governmental, Civil Society and Faith-Based Organizations; working with ageing, and retired Senior Citizens groups. The platform which got registered in 2016 was formed for the entrenchment and sustenance of the wellbeing of older persons in Nigeria. DAGOMO Foundation represents one of the organizations registered with the body.
COSROPIN’s 1st National conference which held on the 6th of December 2018 at National Center for Women Development (NCWD), Abuja brought together elder statesmen, seniors and representatives of NGO’s and Foundations in the eldercare sector. The distinguished Chairman of the conference was Dr. General Yakubu Gowon, (RTD) GCFR, former Head of state of Nigeria.
The conference tagged Stepping into the future: The Nigeria Perspective on Ageing, Care-Giving, Rights, and Privileges of Older Persons had great minds holding discussions on ageing. There were five breakout sessions, one of which the Chief Program Officer, DAGOMO Foundation Nigeria, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okauru facilitated. She talked on Civic engagement and volunteerism for the aged- A way forward.
The General consensus at the end of the conference were the following:
(a) There are national aged care reforms, acknowledging the vital cooperation that States and Federal governments are playing in progressing the new measures;
(b) The reforms are designed to streamline the aged care system while ensuring that consumer choice of services are maintained and strengthened;
(c) The Government will continue to consult and take into account the views of stakeholders to inform the redesigned‘ front end’ for aged care;
(d) That a certain Commission has been asked to develop detailed options for redesigning Nigeria’s aged care system to ensure it can meet the challenges facing it in coming decades which will help the Government assess options for further advancing the long-term agenda for reform to aged care;
(e) Aged Care – Risk Management for Emergency events. The government knows very well that older persons need their support and continued action around planning and response to emergency events to protect them and other vulnerable people in the community from extreme natural events like bushfires, floods, cyclones, and heat waves. There must be in place, an emergency evacuation plan for the Police and Emergency Management on how to protect the aged and disabled;
(f) We want the government to put in place a policy to protect the elderly from concerns about age discrimination and the ongoing need for anti-discrimination and social inclusion policies at the State and the Federal level;
(g) We want a Ministry for Aged and Disabled that will undertake the welfare of the elderly persons in Nigeria primarily. The Minister shall make sure that our country is age-friendly ; he or she shall identify Initiatives that improve the livability and accessibility of communities for people as they age in Nigeria. Government’s healthy places and spaces web-based planning guide which examines how the built environment can assist to achieve sustained, positive health outcomes by providing an environment which encourages and promotes active living for all age groups and fosters social capital and sense of community;
(h) We need a policy on ageing that cuts across all stakeholders because in the present policy there is no definite statement concerning the aged;
(i) The bill on the establishment of National Council On Ageing has been passed on by Senate but still in the house.
(k) Need to collaborate with all MDA’s, not only Women Affairs as well as having an operational desk on ageing within every ministry.
(l) Definition and clarification of sustainable development goals benefits to ageing.
(m) A need to have data collection on ageing at state and local Govt. level for effective planning.
(n) A need to collaborate with National Orientation Agency.
(o) NHIS for ageing. Health Insurance for ageing should be detailed (attendant care, companion care, housekeeping, meal preps, errands, laundry care, medication administration, escorts to the hospital or doctor’s appointment, transportation, health fitness programs, nursing home admission, adult day centers, and home health care shall be covered by NHIS.
(p) Pension interest of one month salary for each year of contribution.
(q) Expand the Act of National Senior Citizens Centre to include adult day care centers and nursing homes.
On that note, DAGOMO Foundation Nigeria remains committed to advocating for the rights and privileges of older persons in Nigeria and will pursue all means in achieving this purpose. Currently, we have our 1st elder care center, Grace Onaiwu Omoigui Elder Care Center (GOOECC) in Benin city and are involved in deliberations both at state and national level for a policy that addresses the needs of older persons, these are few among the ongoing programs.