Care of the Elderly in Rural Nigeria

During this week's UK-Nigeria meeting John Dada forwarded his and Teresa Tafida's June 2014 report about Care of the Elderly in rural Nigeria.

As a health care professional working in the elderly in the UK with it's own challenges, I feel that never before has it been so important to link the local and the global expertise, knowlege and resources for the benefit of the elderly - no matter where in the world they reside. The existence of the internet has provided us all with a real opportunity to help enable us to achieve this.

Care of the Elderly: Experience from Fantsuam Foundation, Kafanchan, Nigeria.

The Kakas Senior Citizens Service at Fantsuam Foundation started small, in the typical Fantsuam style. The program was a response of a need in our host communities that were faced with a situation in which grandparents had to look after increasing numbers of grandchildren who had been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS scourge.

With the increasing rural impoverishment and reduced disposable income, grandparents were facing difficult times. It was in this situation that the Kakas Senior Citizens Service was established.

As a founding member and affiliate of HelpAge International Fantsuam Foundation is able to make inputs to policy processes and programs at Local, National, Regional and Global levels.

At the Local Level, Fantsuam Foundation is partnering with other CSOs in Zone 3 of Kaduna State to raise the profile of older persons and encourage the Kaduna State Government to emulate the Social Protection program for older persons that has been put in place by the
State of Osun. However the platform from which such a laudable policy can be developed is a National Policy for Older Persons, which at the moment is yet to be adopted by the Nigerian Government.

On the Regional level, member states of the Africa Union, adopted the Common African Position (CAP) at the African Union on 3 June 2014. The CAP represents Africa’s negotiating instrument into the global processes that will ensure that Africa’s voices are integrated into the
global framework, post-2015. However this instrument of negotiation for African countries may be at risk if the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development should to drop the stand-alone status of the Goal 10 on Equality. To drop the status of this Goal will impact negatively on the Common Africa Position whose goal is a prosperous, integrated and peaceful Africa.

The Kakas Senior Citizens Service enables Fantsuam Foundation to link a local need to global opportunities and resources through networking with the Nigerian Society for Geriatrics and Gerontology and HelpAge International.

Key issues and focus areas on ageing

• Health: Free consultation and medication

• Social Protection: Physical and legal, monthly stipend

• Home-based Palliative Care

• Housing: renovation and furnishing

• Protection Against Neglect and Abuse: Home visits, nutritional support, wrappers gifts at Sallah and Xmas

Key challenges and opportunities

• Promoting the rights of Older Persons in conflict situations

• Making older persons more VISIBLE to Government at local and national levels

• Pairing youths with older persons to encourage traditional values of care and respect

• Non-violent communication is an age-old responsibility assigned to elders.

• The absence of a Kaduna State and National Policy on Care for the elderly represents a gap in Nigeria’s effective linkage to Regional and Global inclusion of the elderly

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