The Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu and former Minister of Works, Chief Tony Anenih, Saturday, at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, emphasised the need for Nigerians to take care of the aged.
They noted that the old people must no longer be left in the hands of providence to survive through "the grace of a socio-cultural system, which imposes on the young the obligation to take care of the old."
The minister, who was in Ibadan to commission the Chief Tony Anenih Geriatric Centre at the University College Hospital (UCH), stated that the Federal Government, despite the reports about life expectancy in the country, still wanted Nigerians to live to their fullest age and in good health.
He explained that the audacity of President Goodluck Jonathan to approve the centre as well as his provision of fund for its construction was an indication of his commitment to longer life for the citizenry; otherwise, he said the centre would have been a white-elephant project.
Chukwu stated that the Tony Anenih Geriatric Centre would go a long way in ensuring that senior citizens of the country no longer die prematurely.
The minister, who lauded Anenih's philanthropic gesture and the endowment of the geriatric centre, stated the need for more private-public partnership (PPP) initiatives to support service provision in all sectors of the economy.
Earlier, the endower, Anenih, explained that the track record of UCH for excellence made it possible for him to accept to endow the project. He said the idea of a geriatric centre was long overdue, noting that facilities to cater for Nigeria's increasing number of elderly were virtually non-existent.
"If the truth must be told, apart from a few exceptional cases, not much is being done in Nigeria by way of planning for or thinking of the welfare and health of old people. There is hardly any consideration for them in our health planning, policies and budgetary allocations. Nobody seems to be thinking about the aged," he lamented.