• Monday, June 24, 2024
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UBTH graduates 69 ‘elder care aides’ to cater to older persons

UBTH graduates 69 ‘elder care aides’ to cater to older persons

…As CMD says it’s the first ever in Africa

As part of efforts to prioritise the healthcare of older persons in society, the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) has graduated 69 Elder Care Aides.

The Elder Care Aides was part of the Elder Friendly Hospitals Initiatives (ELDFRHI) launched by the teaching hospital in 2020.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Darlington Obaseki, Chief Medical Director of the hospital, said that the 69 graduates were among the 75 persons admitted for the three-week intensive training programme.

Obaseki, who said the training of the Elder Care Aides was the first of its kind in Africa, noted that it was geared towards helping to reduce vulnerability associated with the healthcare of the elderly in society by unprofessional personnel.

The UBTH boss, who said the training was undertaken by the geriatric unit of the medical institution, added that the geriatric ward is the most sought-after ward in the hospital.

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He added that medical records of patients showed that elderly persons are the highest consumers of healthcare in the hospital.

He further said that the Elder Friendly Hospitals Initiative was geared towards making older persons happy.

Obaseki posited that the training of the Elder Care Aides was occasioned by several letters of applications received by the teaching hospital from people who want to work as a volunteer in the geriatric ward.

He added that the applications gave the management the hints to probe the professional know-how of those who have been taking care of elderly persons in various homes.

“That gives us the hints that there is a problem in the open society. We begin to ask who are those looking after our fathers, our mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, uncles and aunties?

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“Is there any formal structured training or even formal training given to them? That is where these whole ideas came about, who should be doing this?

“That we should train those cadres of staff or persons to look after our loved ones.

“These are the problems that we see that made us say, it is our responsibility as healthcare workers, top-notch professionals in the healthcare space to actually train that cadre of persons, and that is where the idea came from,” he said.

While promising to institutionalise the programme, he added that it would soon be upgraded to a Diploma-awarding certificate.

He also disclosed that the hospital has set up a corporate services ward to balance and create equity in healthcare.

He said the corporate services would help the hospital to encourage the well-to-do in society to help fund the healthcare of those who cannot pay for their healthcare.

The Chief Medical Director said the hospital was planning an insurance programme for those in the diaspora to contribute to the funding of the healthcare of the less privileged ones.

Read also: UBTH CMD calls for review of Nigeria’s health insurance scheme

Obaseki promised employment to graduates who are willing to work in corporate services.

Earlier, Obehi Akoria, who spoke on the conception, philosophy, and execution of the training programme for the Elder Care Aides, said 150 indicated interest in the programme, but out of the numbers, 75 persons completed their registration fees while 75 persons did not complete theirs.

Akoria, credited with being the brain behind the geriatric unit of the hospital, said out of the 75 persons who completed and paid registration fees, about seven of them could not complete the programme due to some challenges.

She said the Elder Friendly Hospital Initiatives was a deliberate intervention by UBTH to make hospitals in Nigeria more suited to meet older persons’ needs.

She added that UBTH provides specialised, interdisciplinary, person-centred care to older persons.

The immediate past commissioner for health in Edo State, however, urged the graduates not to indulge themselves in any medical activities that are out of their scope while providing care to their clients.