The Federal Government says it is determined to extend health coverage to more than 50 million Nigerians by 2027, with particular focus on vulnerable groups and the elderly.
The promise was shared by the Special Adviser to the President on Health, Salma Anas-Ibrahim, during the National Healthy Ageing Summit held on Monday in Abuja themed ‘Decade of healthy ageing in Nigeria: Situation, challenges, and transformative pathway.’
Anas-Ibrahim assured that this effort signifies a holistic approach to achieving universal health coverage throughout the nation.
She said, “No one will be left behind,” affirming the unwavering resolve of the government.
Addressing the audience, she reiterated that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is committed to ensuring the attainment of universal health care coverage goal, which encompasses the health of elderly individuals as well.
She emphasized the broad inclusivity of this initiative, aiming to offer accessible healthcare to people of all age groups, from the youngest to the elderly.
“The ‘Renewed Hope Health’ agenda led by President Tinubu is dedicated to reaching over 50 million Nigerians, particularly the elderly, who form a significant part of the vulnerable demographic, within the next four years,” Anas-Ibrahim.
At the Summit, the Director General of the National Senior Citizens Centre, Dr. Emem Omokaro stressed the importance of prioritizing senior citizens in the face of rising non-communicable diseases among this demographic.
Dr. Omokaro highlighted statistics from the Nigeria Living Standard Survey 2019, which showed an existing elderly population of 14.8 million and projected a growth rate of 2.8 percent. The projection suggests that Nigeria will be home to 29.8 million older persons by 2050.
One key implication of this demographic shift according to Dr. Omokaro is the increased prevalence of non-communicable diseases, chronic conditions, and functional impairments among senior citizens, leading to a greater demand for Long-Term Care.
Dr. Omokaro urged for a proactive approach in addressing these challenges and emphasized the significance of this commitment to senior citizens’ well-being.