Members of the Fund Advisory Committee of the recently launched N50m High Chief Dr. O. B. Lulu-Briggs Griatrics Care Endowment Fund, on Wednesday, 9th June embarked on a courtesy visit to the Vice Chancellor of the Rivers State University, Professor Nlerum Okogbule.
The visit, the first by the Committee, was to familiarize with the University management in furtherance of the Committee’s work.
Recall that on Saturday 22nd May 2021, the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation launched the High Chief (Dr.) O. B. Lulu-Briggs N50m Geriatrics Care Endowment Fund during the Inaugural High Chief Dr. O. B. Lulu-Briggs Memorial Lecture.
According to Dr. Mrs. Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs, Chairman of the Foundation, the Geriatrics Endowment Fund will support the advancement of scientiﬁc, occupational therapeutic, educational research and multidisciplinary medical care; the training of multidisciplinary medical professionals in Geriatric Medicine and related fields; and the establishment of a world class Geriatrics Medical Unit at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital. It would also help towards the achievement of any other purposes which shall be deemed relevant to the establishment of a Geriatrics Medical Unit at RSU’s Teaching Hospital and in the development of Geriatrics Medicine in the University.
“From a knowledge-building perspective, research and data on the quality of life and health status of older persons in Nigeria is extremely limited,” Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs, said during the inauguration of the High Chief (Dr.) O. B. Lulu-Briggs Geriatrics Care Endowment Fund.
“Even before the COVID 19 pandemic, many of our elderly did not have ready access to appropriate, quality and affordable health care. Furthermore, when they visit health care facilities older people face age-related stigma and discrimination. And there is a lack of health workers with the skills and expertise to care for older people. These factors deter many older people from seeking health care and also hinder proper diagnosis and care.” Mrs Lulu-Briggs drew from her personal experience of taking care of her late husband and had first-hand experience of the specialised nature of geriatric care.
“I understand why these factors deter many older people in Nigeria from going to the hospital when they are ill and how they hinder proper diagnosis and care,” she said.
She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has further put a spotlight on senior citizens’ health issues around the world and how it is connected to those belonging to the younger population bracket.
“It quickly became evident that older people and those with underlying medical conditions are at a higher risk of death and grave sickness from the COVID-19 disease,” she said.
Members of the Endowment Fund Advisory Committee on the visit to the University were: Ms. Valerie Young-Harry; Honourable Wogu Boms; Professor Chituru Orluwene, Provost, College of Medical Science, (RSU), Professor Hope Bell-Gam, Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Mr. Oribi Anaye, the Committee’s Secretary and Legal Adviser.
The Registrar of the Rivers State University, Dr. S. C. Enyindah was also present at the meeting.