Posted on: Thu 29-02-2024

A non-governmental organization, JBS Foundation has opened a Gerontology Centre aimed at providing excellent in-patient and out-patient healthcare for the older age group.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, a Consultant Geriatrician and Medical Founder of the centre, Dr Olutoyin Akande-Ajala stated that the centre which is the first Private Geriatric Hospital in Nigeria was an initiative, borne out of the passion to fill the vacuum in healthcare delivery for the aged in the country.

She noted that the centre, which is the first of its kind not only in Nigeria but also in West Africa, has an all-encompassing, “one-stop shop” specialist healthcare facility for the older age group in Nigeria.

According to her, the goal is to provide a comprehensive healthcare service to the older age group whilst promoting and facilitating healthy ageing initiatives for the middle-aged.

She said, ‘We aim to be the First Choice Hospital for the older age group in Nigeria and Africa. This centre is borne off the back of JBS Medicare Services which has been providing unrivalled specialist medical treatment for the older age group. We also boast of the first specialist dementia day activity (memory day unit) in Nigeria’.

“Our centre located in Lekki is a multi-bed purpose-built specialist private space with state-of-the-art medical equipment, a homely and warm ambience, well well-trained and caring doctors and nurses” she added.

Dr. Akande-Ajala who was based in the United Kingdom explained that the desire to come back to Nigeria and set up an elderly healthcare centre was born 17 years ago when she observed the way people were struggling to look after their elderly parents and she became convinced that there was a gap to fill in this regard.

The Consultant Geriatrician pointed out that there was no gainsaying that elderly people needed healthcare now that the traditional setting whereby the grandma is in the house and grandchildren are around her is now a thing of the past.

She solicited support from the government as she called for more stakeholders to invest in the healthcare delivery for the aged to find a solution to dementia which she described as a big problem in Nigeria.

In his keynote address, Nigeria’s former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole noted that the elderly in Nigeria are among the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in the country that face multiple challenges and issues that affect their well-being and quality of life.

He listed some of the challenges to include poor access to healthcare services, weak social support systems, and absence of legal protection among others. Adewole called on the government to develop and implement a comprehensive and coherent national policy and plan on ageing, based on the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and allocate adequate resources and capacities for its execution and monitoring.