Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, NUC, Professor Julius Okojie, has said that by 2019, the population of ageing people in Nigeria will be 10 million and by 2050, it will jump to 29 million.”

Professor Okojie stated this yesterday at the opening ceremony of a 2-Day Stakeholders Meeting on Capacity Building with the theme, ‘Strengthening Nigerian Physicians’ Capacity to Serve Older Persons’.

In this vein, the NUC initiated a Masters of Science Programme in Geriatric Medicine in selected Nigerian universities.

Professor Okojie said the current programme in Nigeria’s medical schools does not give the needed special attention to the growing population of the ageing people.

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He argued that there was the need to create a separate programme that would provide special medicare for ‘senior citizens’, as they are called in western countries. “We all pray to attend good old age and enjoy care,” he added.

Earlier in her overview of Agenda and Objectives, Dr Emem Omokaro, LEADS Scholar, Ageing Studies Development, said the population of ageing citizens is challenging, adding that a proper mindset will help in achieving special attention to that age group.

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Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation, WHO, has said it is currently packaging a one year programme that will focus on the older persons.

In his keynote address presented at the occasion by Dr Andrew Mbewe, who stood in for WHO Representative in Nigeria, Dr Rui Gama Vaz, the global health organization said it would flag off a programme for the older persons in the country for the years 2016 -2017.

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He pointed out that achieving healthy ageing starts with behavioural pattern during the younger years, adding that heavy consumption of alcohol and smoking during the earlier years are produce consequences at the later years in life.

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Dr MacJohn Nwaobiala, commended the NUC for coming up with the stakeholders consultative meeting to further deliberate on the modalities for the development of M.Sc  programme in Geriatric Medicine.by Louis