WHO advocates strong partnerships for all age groups

THE World Health Organization (WHO) reiterated its commitment to continuing advocating for multi-sectoral engagement in creating strong partnerships for all age groups, especially the old.

The statement was issued early this weekend by WHO Country Representative Tanzania, Dr Zabulon Yoti, during the press briefing in Dar es Salaam, toward the commemoration of the United Nations International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP), which will be marked on the first day of October.

“WHO with strong partnerships with other sectors, will continue to do everything possible to ensure older persons have access to health care and protection from health emergencies,”Dr Yoti underscored.

Dr Yoti further said solving the challenges of older persons requires multi-sectoral involvement since the world’s population of older persons aged 60 years and above are on the increase.

“In 1950, there were 205 million persons aged 60 years and above in the world… by 2012, the number of older persons increased to almost 810 million and it is projected to reach 1 billion in in ten year to come and double by 2050.

He said by 2050, the population of persons aged 60 years and above in Africa is projected to reach 10 per cent of the total population of the continent,” he said

In a related development, he said WHO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and HelpAge International, is implementing a project to increase access to assistive technology at primary and community levels.

“As part of the project, WHO has procured a consignment of assistive products that will enable older persons continue being functional and independent including walking canes, eyeglasses, wheelchairs, and video communication devices.

These items will be provided to health centers and dispensaries in the Morogoro Region. We will hand over a consignment of these items next week during the National commemoration event.” he added.

In the course, Dr Yoti said the United National General Assembly adopted a resolution on 14 December 2020 and declared 2021–2030 a decade of action for Healthy Ageing, adding that the resolution emphasizes that older people themselves must be at the center of the action.

“The actions bring together governments, civil society, international agencies, professionals, academia, the media and the private sector to improve the lives of older people, their families and their communities,” he said

Moreover, he highlighted four main actions in these ten years for Healthy Ageing including developing age-friendly environments, combating ageism, integrated care for older persons and long-term care.

On the other hand, Country Director HelpAge International, Mr Smart Daniel said despite having The National Ageing Policy, there are still many challenges that need to be solved for older persons, including access to quality health services, income, violation of their rights and ageism.

Mr Daniel further added that UNIDOP is important since it allows different countries to make plans to deal with the challenges facing the older person group.

This year’s International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP) theme is: “resilience of older persons in a changing world”‘.

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