Tuesday, April 24, 2012

No age limit to good health


23 April 2012
Older people need better access to affordable and appropriate healthcare.
Healthy ageing on World Health Day
Healthy ageing was the focus of this year’s World Health Day on 7 April.
The urgency to address good health is underlined byWorld Health Organization (WHO) data showing thatnon-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the main health risks for older people. In poor countries, millions of older people die from these conditions each year, despite the fact that they are largely treatable.
“For anyone to live in chronic pain or die too soon from highly preventable diseases is simply unacceptable,” said Richard Blewitt, HelpAge International’s CEO.
Indeed, more and better preventive strategies for NCDs are needed, John Beard, Director of Ageing at WHO, points out in his blog.

An older Age Demands Action on Health campaigner in Pakistan.
Age Demands Action on Health
The first ever Age Demands Action on Health took place this year, culminating on World Health Day.
Around the world, older people sent out the message that there should be no age limit to good health and asked their governments to take action on better healthcare and services.
The campaign contributed to raising awareness on the right to health. For example, an ongoing study in Ghana has highlighted a lack of access to health cover, as ADA on Health activists there lobbied forequal access to health insurance.

Join the Make it Ageless virtual march!
Make it Ageless
Meanwhile, young people in Europe are standing up for older people’s rights throughHelpAge’s Make it Ageless campaign.
With older people from developing countries, young Europeans aged 18-30 will lobby The European Union to include older people in their development policy and programmes.
In solidarity with older people around the world, HelpAge Make it Ageless championsin Czech Republic, Ireland, Slovenia, Kenya and the Netherlands are spending a week finding out what it is like to grow older.

Mama Brigita, 64, from Kenya is the sole carer of eight orphaned grandchildren.
Older women’s struggle
Older women continue to face discrimination, and suffer from being older and female, points out HelpAge on International Women’s Day, 8 March.
HelpAge reports that in Tanzania, many older women are victims of violence and are often accused of witchcraft. In Kenya, older women who lose their husbands and children to HIV and AIDS related illnesses struggle as they become sole carers of their grandchildren.
HelpAge has helped raise awareness of older women’s rights, including training paralegals on theinheritance rights of older women and orphaned children.
But more needs to be done for real change to happen, and especially to ensure older women’s rights are protected in national laws.

Richard Blewitt, HelpAge International CEO receiving the Hilton Humanitarian Prize.
Recognition for older people
HelpAge International has been awarded the 2012 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize.
The US$1.5 million prize recognises HelpAge’s work in assisting and advocating for disadvantaged older people. “Older people are often forgotten or ignored… the work of HelpAge gives voice to the voiceless,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu in a video message to HelpAge.
“This award is especially meaningful to draw attention to global ageing and the hurdles older people face,” said HelpAge International’s CEO, Richard Blewitt.
At the award ceremony, held in Washington D.C. on 16 April, Blewitt said: "This award is a tribute to the millions of older people throughout the world who struggle daily with extreme poverty and discrimination. This award is theirs and it is our privilege to support them."

Useful reading
§  Ageing and Development 31, the last printed issue of A&D, reports on how little humanitarian aid is going to older people and discusses what the right to health means for older people.
§  Dementia: a public health priority. This report by Alzheimer's Disease International and the World Health Organization calls on governments to address the increasing challenges that dementia poses on a global, national, regional and local level.
§  Right to life without violence in old age. This newsletter highlights problems and practical information on domestic violence against older people.
§  The case for an integrated model of growth, employment and social protection by the World Economic Forum, calls for social protection to deal with current economic challenges and the global jobs crisis.
§  Population ageing and health, The Lancet 379(9823), argues against ageing being framed in negative terms, saying it should be a cause for celebration.

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