• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Dominga Odebunmi is on a mission to bridge the eldercare gap in Nigeria

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Africans are living longer than ever before, a trend highlighted by a World Health Organization (WHO) report. Despite this positive development, the region faces challenges in meeting the needs of its ageing population.

According to WHO, the number of elderly people in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to reach 67 million by 2025 and 163 million by 2050. However, only 57% of countries in the region have developed a national strategy for healthy ageing, and 11% have started creating age-friendly environments.

“Nigeria, with its large population, is experiencing a projected growth rate of 3.2% in its elderly population, a rate expected to double by 2050,” the report read. However, the country, like many others in Africa, lacks comprehensive plans to address the challenges of an ageing population.

In response to these challenges, Dominga Odebunmi, the former director general of the Lagos State Safety Commission (LSSC), who recently celebrated her 60th birthday, chose to dedicate the occasion to helping the aged and elderly in Nigeria, recognising the importance of preparing for the future.

“During my time at the Safety Commission, I realized that the elderly were often sidelined and neglected,” she said. “I saw many of them suffering, and I felt compelled to do something.”

Elderly care, or senior care, is crucial for the well-being of aged individuals. It includes products and services that make daily activities easier for seniors, such as assisted living, adult day care, and long-term care. However, many African countries struggle to provide adequate eldercare services due to limited resources and infrastructure.

Odebunmi’s proactive efforts have led to the creation of the Safety In The Home (SITH) Foundation, which aims to improve the living conditions of elderly people in Nigeria. “We provide safety education, home renovations, and emotional support to the elderly,” she said. “Our goal is to help them live longer, healthier, and happier lives.”

Jamiu Badmus, chief academic & responsibility officer at QHSES Leadership Academy, lauded Odebunmi for her dedication to helping the elderly. “She is a true humanitarian who has made a significant impact in the lives of many,” he said. “Her foundation is a shining example of how individuals can make a difference in their communities.”

As Africa’s population continues to age, the need for comprehensive eldercare services will become increasingly important. “By supporting initiatives like the SITH Foundation, individuals and organizations can help ensure that the elderly in Africa receive the care and support they deserve,” Badmus added.