The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday, said the number of older persons worldwide was projected to more than double, reaching more than 1.5 billion persons in 2050.
Speaking at the National Summit on Healthy Ageing, WHO Country Representative, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said despite lack of adequate data on older persons, Nigeria was not spared from the alarming figures with about 14.8 million aged 60years and above in 2020.
“Globally, there were 703 million persons aged 65 or over in 2019. Over the next three decades, the number of older persons worldwide is projected to more than double, reaching more than 1.5 billion persons in 2050.
“Apart from Northern Africa and Asia, the second fastest increase is projected for sub-Saharan Africa, where the population aged 65 or over could grow from 32 million in 2019 to 101 million in 2050,” he said..
Mulombo said WHO alongside other UN experts, civil society and the health professions have continued to support the government of Nigeria’s efforts to discuss the five strategic objectives of the Global Strategy and Action plan on Ageing and Health.
He said the strategy was at the center of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as ageing issues cut across the 17 goals, especially Goal 3 which aims to, “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being of all at all ages.”
The WHO director said several studies assessing Nigeria’s health system including the current global COVID-19 pandemic further revealed a need for strengthened health systems at all levels to be responsive to older people.
In addition, he said the role of governance and coordination through partnerships as a major building block of the health system cannot be over emphasised.
“The desired goal of ‘Leaving no one behind’ is achievable and can become a reality when and only when all stakeholders – Government from various sectors, development partners, and indeed the people represented in the various communities including older citizens join hands together for strengthened partnerships.
“To this end, this implementation of the strategic objectives of the ‘decade of healthy age’ has become critical and will set the right stage for accelerated results towards improving the health and socioeconomic outcomes for older persons in Nigeria,” he added.