African countries have been called upon to address and prioritise issues affecting the elderly in their communities.
The wife of the Nigerian Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbanjo made the call in Abuja at the first Annual African Regional Conference on Ageing. It was organised by Stakeholder Group on Ageing, SGA, Africa.
Mrs. Osinbanjo also called for innovative solutions to ensure that the plight of the elderly, like abandonment, starvation, rejection and stigmatisation are abolished in the African society.
The wife of the vice president who unveiled the Stakeholder Group on Ageing said the call became necessary because the elderly were the custodians of history.
Mrs. Osinbajo says priority attention should be given to the care of elderly people.
Mrs. Osinbajo commended the organisers of SGA, for choosing to make a difference in the lives of the aged rather than take a lukewarm attitude which had been a norm in the past.
The Convener and Chair, SGA Africa International Conference Planning Committee, Dr. Emem Omokaro said that the aged were not any different but a continuation in the trajectory of life.
Dr Omokaro said the three day conference aimed at sensitising African countries on the need to ratify and implement the UN Convention on the Rights of older persons.
She called for a shift in the narrative about older persons.
According to Dr. Omokaro, SGA Africa is looking for a compelling intervention framework that will be easy for policy makers, influencers and programme implementers to get the aged population integrated into policies.
We are going to consider health, long-term care, an age friendly environment, legal framework and social protection.
We are also considering social and economic engagements of older persons in productive force,Dr. Omokaro said.
The Chief, Programme on Ageing Unit, Social Inclusion and Participation Branch United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs, Mrs. Amal Rafeh called for a change in the treatment of the elderly.
Mrs. Rafeh said the change would require engagement with a broad range of stakeholders, including Non Governmental Organisations, volunteer groups, academia and local communities.
She said the establishment of SGA which houses a diverse range of civil society experts, was well positioned to engage and influence policymakers and the United Nations processes.
These could be achieved through the provision of valuable expertise and understanding of the local context in which they operate, Mrs Rafeh stressed.
She said concrete proposals and creative solutions would be applied to the highlighted gaps between evidence, policy and practice in the benefit of the aged.
The African Regional Conference on Ageing, SGA, is expected to come up with tangible solutions on how to take care and manage the plight of older persons in Africa.
The Stakeholders Group on Ageing Africa, SGA Africa, is an African regional coalition of organisations including Civil Societies, Professional Bodies, Human Rights Institutes, Centres on Ageing and older persons.
The body is also part of the Civil Engagement Mechanism Group of African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development engaged in combating ageism and promoting older persons rights to inclusion in all aspects, in the implementation and achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs 2030 and African Union Agenda 2063.
The vision of Stakeholders Group on Ageing is an Africa for all ages in which older people fully enjoy their rights and maximally utilise their potentials.
It seeks to end discrimination and influence the inclusion of older persons in societal development.
Source: Voice of Nigeria