The Chief Medical Director, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, (UBTH), Prof. Darlington Obaseki says over 44 percent of the elderly persons make use of the hospital services in the country but they are factored into the care processes.
He said this while speaking on the theme: ‘Caring for the Elderly, Lessons from the COVID19 pandemic’ to mark the United Nations International Day of Older Persons, UNIDOP 2020 in Benin.
Prof. Obaseki said the management, after critically examining their data, discovered that the number of persons that patronised the hospital more were the elderly ones and that they decided to make life easier and meaningful to them even when seeking for medical attention.
“In March this year, the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire came here in UBTH, to launch a unique project that UBTH is driving nation wide. We call it the Elder Friendly Hospital Initiatives.
“The reason why we started that project was basically because, we looked at our data of hospital utilisation, the greatest consumers of hospital services are older persons. In our medical emergency for example in 2019, 44 percent of people we attended to were people of sixty years and above.
“Now, you contrast that with the proportion of the elderly persons in society. Older persons in Nigeria make up only five percent yet they utilize 44 percent of hospital services.
“When we looked at that data, suddenly realised that despite being the largest consumers of hospital services, most hospitals, if not all hospitals in Nigeria, were not factoring them in deliberately in the care process”, he said.
Team Lead, Rapid Response, COVID19, UBTH, Dr. Benson Okwara, while explaining how the hospital took care of the elderly who were affected with the Coronavirus disease, said their rates of survival from the disease was very minimal due to their low immunity.
“In UBTH, we had 405 confirmed cases of COVID19 from the 31March to the 30 of September, of this numbers, 143, were persons of sixty years and above who were infected. Unfortunately, we also lost a good number of them because they were the vulnerable group.
“World wide, the mortality really for persons sixty years and above is seventy percent and in Nigeria, UBTH, we were getting sixty percent which also matches what we get”, Dr. Okwara.
On his part, chairman of the occasion, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, commended the hospital for being a shinning light among others in the country in taking care of the elderly.
“A lot of people are not even desirable that they keep elderly relatives at home because it affect their wives, it affects their careers, it affects their movement.
“So, when there is a hospital, a geriatric friendly hospital, which UBTH is now a shinning example, you can have the comfort, the confidence that, that old father, that old mother, that old aunt, will get the total type of care that an old person needs”, Oyegun said.