In a bid to provide affordable quality healthcare services to senior citizens residing in Abia, the state government through a public-private partnership has initiated an integrated health care network design.
This programme, at Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahia, would cater for diverse health challenges of the senior citizens and ensure free home health care delivery service for the vulnerable, aged 59 and above, across the 17 local government area of the state.
It is a health initiative aimed at improving the lives of elderly and addressing the numerous challenges the elderly face, including access to quality health care services, limited resources among others.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu said taking care of the elderly had become one of the priorities of his administration.
He said, “If we are able to take care of the most vulnerable members of the society, namely the children from one year to 59 years old as well as those from 70 years and beyond, it is possible for us to improve on the health indices.
“Because if we can prevent the elderly from coming to the hospital in the first place, either through diet, monitoring of blood pressure and other parameters, by taking the health care services to their doorsteps and caring for them, then we will reduce the number of people coming to the hospital, the amount of money their children will spend, as well as reduce their frustration and probably elongate their lives.”
At the venue of the launch of the programme on Thursday, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, who was represented by the Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Dr.Chuku Abali, said the initiative would improve the lives of the elderly, strengthen the social welfare and bridge the gap on the numerous health challenges.
Beyond praising the programme, he called on the authorities to ensure it is not abused.
The minister said, “I enjoin you to endeavor to monitor this scheme, it is laudable, we shall explore areas of assistance.
“For these elderly ones, this is a stage of life where resources are few, and capacity both functional and physiologically are reduced and dependence increases, a stage where no government want to turn away from.
“For this government to have deem it necessary to do more for this vulnerable category of our population is indeed commendable”.
A senior citizen and beneficiary of the programme, Mr.Augustine Alaribe, commended the programme, saying, “Today, we will not suffer to go about looking for hospitals and doctors to attend to us when we are sick and have no one to take care of us, because the Governor has put instruments on the ground to take care of the challenges.”
Under the public private partnership which is worth N200m, ambulances, transportation, trained health care givers among others would be provided to care for the elderly.
It is also expected to create jobs.
The Administrator, Free Home Healthcare Initiative, Mr. Emenike Chucks Osondu, said that the health care network is designed to change the narrative in health care delivery services for the elderly and ensure they enjoy their old age with less hardship.
“We have trained doctors, nurses, medical social workers, physiotherapists, and all that care to do this job, I must say that the youths are excited to do this job,” he said.