UBTH graduates Nigeria’s first set of Elder Care Aides 

UBTH graduates Nigeria’s first set of Elder Care Aides 

Nigeria inched closer towards the achievement of the goals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons following the successful training of 68 Elder Care Aides (ECAs) recently by the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH).
The new ECAs emerged after a three–week intensive training facilitated by a team of experts drawn from Nigeria, United Kingdom, and the United States of America as part of activities for the joint celebration of the 2023 International Day of Older persons and the National Day of Older Persons.
Chief Medical Director of UBTH, Prof. Darlignton Obaseki announced at the graduation ceremony that the training programme would be institutionalized to continue to provide hands-on training for caregivers who will provide the required essential services to older persons.
He also disclosed that the sub-vision of the hospital is to make the training programme for Elder Care Aides a full diploma course in line with the management’s commitment “to make UBTH to excel as a continuous learning and training hub in the West Africa sub-region.”

The new ECAs and Faculty members

Programme Facilitator and lead faculty, Prof. Obehi Akoria described the training programme as an offshoot of their Elder Friendly Hospitals Initiative (ELDFRHI), which was formally launched by the then Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, in March 2020, who promised to adopt it as a national programme. 
Prof. Akoria stated that older persons (aged 60 years and above) in Nigeria often experience multiple challenges in accessing quality care, hence the need for multisectoral, multipronged approaches to address the challenges. She stated further that a lifecourse approach to ageing is vital to achieving successful ageing. This, she said, requires that societal response should include primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions. 
“We can only do so much in our hospitals, but we can achieve a lot more if we take our campaign for a lifecourse approach to successful ageing to households. 
“The novel Ageing Friendly Households Initiative (AGEFRHI) is thus designed to take the message of successful ageing to households so that while we are working from the hospital end to make hospitals more elder friendly, using UBTH as a pilot, we are taking the campaign of making households ageing friendly to our communities, getting people to be aware that they can contribute better to how well they age.
“The newly certified ECAs will be ambassadors of the AGEFRHI campaign and the lifecourse approach to successful (healthy) ageing as propounded by the World Organization, Prof. Akoria said. 
Prof. Akoria, who is the immediate past Commissioner for Health in Edo State, expressed satisfaction about the direct impact of the ECA training course on the participants, which, she said, was a life changer for most, going by their testimonials. She disclosed that many of the faculty members were aged between 60 and 85 years, and participated actively throughout the 3-week intensive course.
“This changed participants’ mindsets about how older persons are often regarded  in the society”, she said.
One of the new Elder Care Aides, Mrs Efe Susan Isibor in an interview described how the course transformed her within the three weeks to be able to perform tasks to help improve the quality of life of older persons:
“Aside the wonderful and thought-provoking lectures on various aspects of ageing, I would like to talk on my experience at the wards where I learnt how to take vital signs, how to do bed baths, making of beds, documentation, administration of drugs, feeding through the N.G. tube and lots more.
“I must confess that this training has transformed me totally and given me a different view about ageing”,  she said.

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