By Kemi Oyeleye,
The wife of the Ogun state Governor and founder of Ajose Foundation, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun has launched a fundraiser for the care of the underprivileged older persons in Ogun state.
The launch, in partnership with JBS Elderly Health and Wellbeing Foundation Africa is aimed at providing basic support for the well-being and health of underprivileged elderly people in Africa to make life worth living.
At the launch which took place at the Conference Hotel, Abeokuta, the First Lady who is also the Patron of JBS said the collaboration became imperative for the mental, physical, financial and emotional needs of the elders in the state to be met.
According to her, “The plan with this initiative is to target the individual welfare of our elders by providing mental, physical, financial and emotional support through a systemic process that is easily replicable across country.”
Mrs. Abiodun noted that for any society to thrive, the commitment to care for the elderly must remain a priority adding that it aligned with goal 3, of the sustainable development goals which is concerned with good health and well-being.
She said “This also aligns with the sustainable development goal 3 concerned with good health and well-being, which will ultimately work to increase the life expectancy of our citizens and ease the tensions in our health systems for more work to be done.”
She added, “From its inception, the JBS Foundation has been driven by the mission to empower and provide welfare and early intervention for the elderly in our communities to ensure a better quality of life as they age. I am proud to say that we are taking concerted efforts to reach the goal, together with all concerned stakeholders we are set to record tremendous success in no time.”
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker in her goodwill message, stressed the need for compassionate gesture from all, towards the vulnerable elderly people particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
She disclosed that the state had enrolled over a thousand aged, across the state for monthly care calling on philanthropists, organizations and individuals to support the gesture of providing quality health and food for the elderly.
The Guest Speaker at the occasion, former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, decried the neglect the elderly had to put up with in Nigeria as against the provisions for the senior citizens in countries like US.
He said while life expectancy is put at 70 years and above in the developed nations, it is unfortunate that life expectancy in Nigeria had reduced to 50 years due to the hardships in the country.
Prof. Adewole opined that the country should look at social security system outside pension as one of the steps towards redeeming the ugly trend, recommending Insurance scheme, establishment of centers for aged as well as training of the right cadre of personnel for the course.
The CEO, JBS Foundation, Dr. Olutoyin Ajala, said the foundation commenced registration and care of the vulnerable elderly in Lagos, in January, 2020 and had moved to Ogun, starting with Kobape in a spate of one year and with the decision of moving the gesture to other parts of the South West and all the geo- political zones of the country.
She enjoined all to be a part of the great team by supporting with whatever they could afford and possibly adopt an elderly person and see to his or her monthly needs.
Beneficiaries at the occasion were, Mrs. Felicia Sobakin, 75 years, from Odeda Local Government, Mr. Idowu Onatola, 76, from Ikenne, Mrs. Felicia Taiwo, 79, from Yewa North and Mr. Adedeji Odebajo, 84 from Ijebu East.