Pensioners seek increased benefits from Oyo’s free health mission

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State Secretary, Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Comrade Segun Abatan, has said many pensioners have ailments that require them to take medicines daily, and he has called for increased slots from the Omituntun Free Health Mission for its members in the state.

Comrade Segun Abatan, who spoke at the Omituntun Free Health Mission outreach to the Nigerian Union of pensioners, said pensioners, being elderly people, are vulnerable to infections and many non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and heart problems and would have to pay if they go to the only geriatric hospital in the state.

Abatan, who said the union has about 50,000 members, noted that “access to health care services is not easy for pensioners and senior citizens”.

He said: “They face many challenges including unfriendly medical personnel, crowded hospitals and cost of drugs. While trying to struggle for access, they are prone to falling and even dying.

“There is no government in Nigeria that has a prepared programme for them, even though as workers before retirement they are under the National Health Insurance scheme. That is why you find many turning to traditional medicine and herbal remedies, which also has its many problems, too.”

While assuring the pensioners of more time slots, Coordinator of the Omituntun Free Medical Health Mission, Dr Wale Falana, said the programme which takes place quarterly, covers all LGAs in the state and also offers free surgeries, including cataract and hernia surgery for all age groups as well as fill prescriptions for ailments such as diabetes and hypertension for the indigent in the community.

Falana, the Director, Secondary Health Care Services and Training, Oyo State Ministry of Health, said the free health mission for this quarter had reached about 400,000 and those which couldn’t be handled were referred to the Oyo State Health Insurance Agency to enrol for health insurance to meet their health needs.

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