Members of the Gerontology Association of Nigeria, (GERAN) are passionate about their cause, matching words with action.
This was manifested in the recent incidence when Mr. Zakariya Mark Esegbe, an aged man was found by a GERAN member, Dr. Temitope Farombi, sitting in the middle of a very busy Trunk A road in Ibadan in the morning last week, oblivious of the danger to his life, and reunited with his family along with sufficient provisions.
Dr. Temitope Farombi, a Consultant Geriatrics Neurologist, University College Hospital Ibadan and Founder of Brain Health Initiative Nigeria (BHIN) on her way to work that fateful day, upon sighting the man who was yet to be identified, aborted her journey and took him to a care home for immediate attention.
It was further discovered that the man who had been destitute for 15 years, was also without a financial means to support himself.
Dr. Temitope Farombi, announced this finding on the GERAN Whatsapp platform, prompting them into action as they immediately taxed themselves and at these austere times, raised funds for the destitute man while they traced his family.
Dr. Farombi said: “What’s obvious is he is homeless, destitute and locating his family might be an odious task. We need Centres for Old Age Rehabilitation for people like this.”
“I got attracted to him because he’s old and in the middle of a trunk A road. I got people to move him away from the road. He was visibly shaking, dehydrated and perhaps hungry. I got him hot tea and a loaf of bread and left for work. On returning later that evening, I saw him still lying helpless by the roadside and I got him dinner and a cover cloth.
“He gave a brief history of himself but not coherent. I made a call for help to rehabilitate him and trace his family as I posted his video on different social media platforms. To my amazement, so many kind hearted Nigerians came to the rescue”.
“Heaven smiled on us by making his relatives to come for him. He’s been destitute for over 15 years and was last seen by any of them 3 years ago. In fact, they thought he was dead as they couldn’t find his whereabouts,” Dr. Farombi said.
The GERANs were thankful to God Almighty who counted them worthy to work for humanity even at these austere times, having raised more than N209,000.00 for his accommodation and upkeep.
The older man’s health challenges were identified as moderate cognitive impairment, hypertension, inguinal hernia and systemic infection.
“He’s currently on medications for that except for the hernia that requires surgical intervention. There is a huge care gap for the elderly Nigerians. We all need to work more to ensure a sustainable support for the older adults”, Dr. Farombi said.
GERAN President, Doctor Emem Omokaro thanked the GERAN members, Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation (ADF) and other well meaning Nigerians for their warmth, compassion and generous, voluntary contributions towards the rehabilitation.
Dr. Omokaro said: “With this, he should be able to have a roof over his head, food and medicine for some extended time. We will continue the culture of identifying unique emergencies and taking a common position where necessary”.