What you need to know about the HEPIQ-C PROJECT: Caring for the aged Nigerians

Prof. Isaac Adewole receives HEPIQ-C team from Birmingham City University at the FMoH HQ Abuja

Nigeria is an interesting country for Public health collaboration in research among public health researchers and training to develop capacity. Considering the size of the country, its population, ethnicity and diversity, a better understanding on Nigeria would tremendously benefit other countries in the region. Today more than 10% of Nigerian populations are aged 60+ years (About 18 Million), and this number will increase in the years to come. However, there is no such healthcare policy as to how the country can provide them care. Thus, research is needed with internationally recognised institutions to investigate ageing issues and address the needs for elderly care support for Nigerians.

Rapid Urbanisation

Rapid urbanisation in Nigeria has affected the traditional value system of our people and eroded the safety net provided by their children who traditionally careful care for the elderly at old age. Son and daughters and their children have no time for the senior citizens in their family. The elderly, who have provided their services and support to the society, feel unloved and neglected at this pace of their lives. Their deteriorating physical strength and other non-Communicable geriatric diseases add to their difficulties. Their financial difficulties, lack of affordable healthcare and the general neglect by the society make them more vulnerable to survive with dignity. The global health demand for addressing the menace of later life problems among others has propelled Ministry of Health to intervene and putting in place a HEPIQ-C project to look into issues related with ageing and research on non- communicable diseases.

What is Hepiq-C?

The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and Birmingham City University (BCU) signed an MOU entitled “HEALTH PACKAGE FOR IMPROVING QUALITY CARE ON AGEING POPULATION AND DISEASES IN NIGERIA” known as the HEPIQ-C PROJECT. The BCU and the FMOH are desirous of collaboration with each other for capacity-building and strengthening of Disease Control and prevention and Healthy ageing, occupational and environmental health, and in areas of research studies on NCDs, training in Human development, in line with the mandate of the health policy of this current administration. Professor Hafiz T. A. Khan has assisted in developing this ageing project in which Dr. Saidu Ahmed will be the lead in Nigeria.

The aim is to dedicate the benefit of the collaboration to the elderly in our society by helping the aged and their family members to overcome challenges of aging and non-communicable diseases that will empower the active elders showing them the way to live with dignity in their silver years. We will evolve a natural world where the aged will have unhindered access to good quality of life and flourish in our society where they will enjoy the optimum benefit of longer and dignified life through effective revitalization of Primary health care in Nigeria.

The government is committed to improving the quality of care to its populace. Mr. President recently launched the Revitalization of the Primary Health care Centre’s program with the aim of targeting to improve the health of the vulnerable population such as children, women and aged population in both rural and urban areas.

The Honorable Minister of Health, Professor Adewole Isaac has consented to forge ahead with this project in collaboration with the Birmingham City University and Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, University of Oxford, UK. The Ministry’s initiative will strengthen global health partnership and capacity building at the Primary Healthcare Centre’s across the country with the aim of addressing the menace of ever increasing non-communicable diseases and ensure healthy ageing amongst Nigerians. The approval is also in line with the plan to develop National Health policy on Ageing in Nigeria

More collaborations

The Ministry is strategic in expanding its partners with donor organization within and outside Nigeria. The Ministry is embarking on inclusive collaboration by involving the Petroleum Technology Development fund (PTDF), and other organisations such as Islamic Development Bank (IDB), NLNG, Total, Dangote Foundation to provide support in the training of healthcare workers and research in areas of Health, Safety, Occupational Health, Environmental Health and Public Health both within and outside Nigeria. The Ministry is determined to engaged all relevant academics, stakeholders and development partners to work together in the areas of ageing and Non communicable disease research and care as follows;

i) Cooperate with international organization and others in identifying projects and sources of funds between and among governments.

ii) Accept technical and expert support on Human capital training, equipment, and expertise to reach the objectives of the project.

iii) Will ensure effective information sharing relevant to the activities of the Project

v) Will encourage exchange and host staff and students from collaborating institutions..

vi) Disseminate the findings of the Project to wider benefit of the society through publication and mass media.

Project Coordinator Dr Saidu Ahmed HEPIQ-C Project

Federal Ministry of Health. Nigeria

Technical Assistant, HEPIQ-C Project.Dr. Damaris Osunkwo

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