As part of efforts to prevent dietary-related diseases that may affect senior citizens, the Lagos State Government has screened, educated and provided geriatric nutrition interventions including nutrition screening, blood pressure and glucose level checks, Body Mass Index (BMI) measurement and health counselling to no fewer than 165 retired senior citizens.
The health intervention was carried out recently in batches for three days by the Ministry of Health for retired senior citizens from the State civil service and the private sector, under the auspices of the State Government sponsored Geriatric Nutrition Intervention programme.
Speaking during his visit to the health intervention programme, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, explained that the geriatric nutrition intervention programme was conceived to promote a healthy lifestyle that will prevent dietary-related diseases and prolong the life of retired senior citizens.
He said: “Senior citizens in both the civil service and the private sector retire on a daily basis with little or no attention given to their wellbeing after retirement, this is why the Lagos State Government is taking these proactive steps to help our senior citizens navigate this important stage of their lives.
Ogboye, who was represented by the Director, Family Health and Nutrition in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Folasade Oludara, noted that the programme aimed at encouraging a healthy lifestyle amongst retired senior citizens will help slow down the process of body and mental degeneration associated with the natural process of ageing.
He said the programme is aimed at providing adequate care for retirees by helping them to know their current health conditions, enlightening and educating them on how to improve health-seeking behaviours.
The Permanent Secretary explained further that the programme provides an opportunity for the State Government to monitor the health of retired senior citizens and conduct appropriate interventions tailored towards their health needs, counselling and referral for treatment of specific health conditions.
Ogboye disclosed that over 500 retired senior citizens have benefitted from the geriatric nutrition intervention programme, adding that the 165 senior citizens that have benefitted from the current phase of the programme indicate the positive impact the programme is making.
He said: “The feedback from beneficiaries of this health intervention has been encouraging and it feels good to know that our aim to create awareness on nutrition-related diseases amongst senior citizens and prevent dietary-related diseases is yielding the desired results”.
“The Ministry of Health has been implementing this program which has been improving the welfare of our retired senior citizens since 2017, the Governor has graciously approved that the intervention for the year is increased to four so as to capture more retirees”.
“These senior citizens have been selected from various retirement organisations in the communities and we hope that they will go back and cascade what they have learnt from this intervention”, the Permanent Secretary added.
He advised senior citizens both retired and active to pay more attention to their health by going for regular health checks, engaging in mild body exercises, presenting themselves for regular nutrition screening and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Ogboye enjoined senior citizens to embrace the mandatory Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme tagged ‘Ilera Eko’, which was established by the State government to make quality health care services accessible, affordable and equitable to all.
While reiterating the State government’s commitment to the welfare and wellbeing of its retired senior citizens, the Permanent Secretary noted that the Ministry of Health will continue to put in place and implement strategies that will enhance the health of older and elderly citizens.
One of the beneficiaries of the health intervention, a septuagenarian, Mrs. Adebisi Akorede gave kudos to the Lagos State Government for putting together the laudable initiative and opined that older citizens need constant education on nutrition and lifestyle choices to help them age gracefully and live healthy lives.
She noted that the programme has opened her eyes to the importance of healthy nutrition, exercise and regular health check to keep healthy and strong.
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