The Federal Government has promised to provide health coverage to over 50 million Nigerians, especially the vulnerable and the elderly people by 2027.
The Special Adviser to the President on Health, Salma Anas-Ibrahim, made this known on Monday in Abuja at the National Healthy Ageing Summit with the theme “Decade of healthy ageing in Nigeria: Situation, challenges, and transformative pathway.”
According to Anas-Ibrahim, no one will be left behind in achieving universal health coverage in the country.
She said, “As I’m speaking to you today as a special adviser to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I want to reiterate to you that this is a critical stage in our lifetime in Nigeria, as we are transitioning to a new government of renewed hope and a renewed hope for health, I would like to say that the President is committed to ensuring that we meet and realise our universal health care coverage, which also involves the health of the elderly people.
“No one will be left behind, not an elderly person or any other person will be left behind.”
She noted that the aged are a critical component of the vulnerable group and will access quality health care services that cover all vulnerable groups including women and children, and also the physically challenged people.
She added that the “Renewed Hope Health agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is committed to covering over 50 million Nigerians, and most of them vulnerable, including the elderly people, the aged people, within the next four years by the grace of God.”
Also speaking, the Director General of the National Senior Citizens Centre, Dr Emem Omokaro, said there is a need to prioritise the senior citizens in the country as there is the likely growing prevalence of non-communicable diseases among them.
“In Nigeria, disaggregated data from the Nigeria Living Standard Survey 2019 indicate a population of 14.8 million for older persons with a population growth rate of 2.8 per cent. In spite of its young pyramid-structured population, Nigeria by 2050 will be home to 29.8 million older persons.
“One of the implications of a growing ageing population is the considerable and likely growing prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases, chronic conditions, and functional impairment among the older persons, substantially expanding the need for Long Term Care,” Omokaro said.