Prof. Temitope Alonge, the Chief Medical Director of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, on Monday said the elderly would constitute 20 per cent of Nigeria’s population before the end of 2016.
Alonge said this at the opening ceremony of a two-week training designed for doctors in geriatric medicine in Ibadan.
It is with theme: “Introducing Doctors to Emerging Care in Geriatric Medicine.”
Along said: “The rationale for organising the training is for practitioners to have more knowledge of the way the elderly are treated in various hospitals across Nigeria.
“Going by current reports, the elderly will constitute about 20 per cent of Nigeria’s population before the end of this year.
“The mortality of the elderly is also high due to the fact that doctors have not adequately mastered the diagnosis and management of their ailments and diseases.
“There is need to address this.”
The CMD defined geriatric medicine as an area in medicine that focuses on caring for the health of the elderly people.
Along said: “Geriatric medicine aims to promote health by preventing and treating diseases and disabilities in older adults.
“At the moment, Nigeria does not have this area of medicine in the curriculum for medical training, but it is our short term vision to include this training in medical institutions.
“This is because the treatment of this category of people is not being handled properly in medicine.
“The need therefore arises to train medical doctors from all the three tiers of health care delivery in geriatrics.
“Participants at this training have been selected from the six geopolitical zones of the country and it is the first Basic Certificate course in geriatric medicine.”
Alonge said it would involve a week of intensive training on how to handle geriatric medicine and another week for hands-on.
The hands-on would include visits to some old peoples’ centres in Ibadan.
He commended Chief Tony Anenih and friends, who were the first Nigerian philanthropists to help in building and equipping of the Chief Tony Anenih Geriatric Centre, Ibadan.
Dr. Lawrence Adebusoye, a Geriatrics expert, said the training was designed to expand and strengthen the manpower in geriatric medicine.
According to Adebusoye, with the establishment of the centre, there is the need for medical and health personnel to be trained to handle geriatrics in their environment.
He said: “The training involves doctors in Community Medicine, doctors from State or General Hospitals and from tertiary health facilities in Nigeria.
“Our long term vision is to have a proper hospital specially designed to diagnose, treat and manage the health of the elderly.
“We also intend to build an old people’s home where a family can leave the care and management of their elderly when they need to travel out of town.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the training was organised by the UCH in collaboration with African Society for Ageing Research and Development.
The resource persons include Prof. Usman Ahmed, a professor of geriatrics from the Stanford University, UK, and other professors with experience in geriatrics from Africa and Nigeria.