BY AMINU DALHATU
The Director General National Senior Citizens Center NSCC Dr Emem Omokaro says henceforth caregiving for older persons will be a certified skill with career progression up to Higher National Diploma HND for whoever chooses the line.
She stated this at a One-Day opening ceremony for the validation of National Occupational Standard NOS in Geriatric Social Care in collaboration with NBTE in Kaduna
“It is a whole geriatric industry that is springing up for employment in the caregiving industry,”
Dr Emem Omokaro explained that , she was in Kaduna in line with NSCC partnership with the National Board for Technical Education on the Development of a National Benchmark and Minimum Standards for Training and Certification of Care Givers to older persons and Accreditation for Care Settings, facilities as well as Training Providers and Centers.
She said that the NSCC would ensure that ,geriatric social care skills is admitted into the national skills qualification framework NSQF.
“We also want to develop an occupational standard which will be the minimum in certification of caregivers and in accreditation of care agencies, facilities, training providers, centres and all that goes into care quality assurance.”
Dr Omokaro emphasized that, older persons should expect quality care ahead, because the center would begin to build a skilled paid workforce for geriatric care.
She said the NSCC had signed an MoU with the National Board for Technical Education NBTE to develop quality assurance in geriatric social care and was in line with the NBTE’s mandate as a regulatory body in charge of skills acquisition.
The Director General also said in Nigeria, traditionally, care of older persons was seen as family concern and left in the hands of any person.
She pointed out that, the partnership with NBTE would bring sanity, professionalism and achieve later life and long-term care for the geriatric population in Nigeria.
According to Dr Omokaro, there was huge vacuum when it comes to care of older person, because it was not standardized and the caregivers were not train or certified, stressing that, So older persons suffered abuse .
The Director General maintained that, National Senior Citizens Centre , NNCC has the mandate as a National agency to identify the needs of older persons and to cater for their needs, saying that, one of the needs is health and social Care.
Dr Emem Omokarod described the issues of older persons as multi-sectoral, noting that when the states aligned with the NSCC, it would stretch issues of older persons to be a development issue, not a small welfare issue.
“The consultative forums are our very necessary mechanisms because they are involved with us through programmes, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
“They are in fact, our independent monitors in all the states,” she said.
The Director General appealed to the state governments to ensure inclusive development for equity and human rights of older persons not to be left behind.
“The only way to ensure inclusivity and universality in any social development is to create their legal policy institutions which the Federal Government did in passing the NSCC bill into a law.
In a remark, the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education, Professor Idris M. Bugaje commended NSCC for the commitment towards the development of Geriatric Social Care Skills Qualification and Care Quality Assurance and Regulatory Systems for the Geriatric Care Sector in Nigeria.
While assuring speedy completion of the process, Prof. Idris Bugaje said NBTE would ensure the development of a curriculum toward ensuring that, traditional caregivers in Nigeria are given proper certification for efficient and professional service delivery.
“What we did the other time we singed an MOU and i noticed alot of commitment by the NSCC to this project”
He said Nigerians are yearning for this program to be rollout.
Professor Bugaje appealed to the sector skills council that oversees the care sector to redouble their effort in supervising training centers and other stakeholders.
He said there is the need for the sector skills council to be up and doing by giving them further training because some of them are new .
“NBTE will review or to validate National Occupational Standard, is an interim megger, this is the Primary responsibility of Sector Skills Council, NBTE only oversees what sector skills council are doing because alot of sector skills council are not taking their responsibilities what is why NBTE is doing it”
“Skills development agenda should be private sector driving, saying that sector skills Council is supposed to be driving or led by the private sector “we government agency, we should not be on the led because occupational standard should be develop by the agency.
“We need to find away to reposition our sector skills Council to that to understand their role”
“Eventually NBTE in the next coming three to four years will going to be holding workshops on NOS we would allow Sector Skills Council to be doing it, we only send representative”