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Dr. Jack Chow opened his remarks by citing bout the importance of this symposium and expressed that he was delighted to be a part of this specialized symposium together with his colleagues from the United States and its counterparts from Japan.

He stated that the purpose of this symposium is very important not only from the view point of the bilateral relationship between Japan and the United States on health and aging issues but also from the role and responsibility that WHO has been playing. He outlined the role that WHO has been playing to cope with the issue of aging from health and care-services point of view not only for developed countries but also developing countries. In his view, WHO maintain the following views which are quoted from the paper presented are as follows:

"The challenge for health care systems":

Rapid population ageing will lead to changing demands to health care system in both developed and developing nations. Health care system will be expected to accommodate are for older people adults together with care for other groups. Health care systems will have to adapt to increasing proportions of the oldest old. While ageing is not in itself a disease and old age should not be seen synonymous to frailty and sickness, increasing demands on the health sector can be expected.

"Some good news":In developed countries e.g. the USA, disability rates in older age have declined in recent years. But the most likely future scenario will depend on policies to be implemented now. Healthier life-styles will lead to future cohorts of older people ageing in better health-the "healthy-ageing" scenario. Advances in bio-technology are increasingly benefiting individuals that in the past would have become disabled. The challenge for the developing world is two-fold: investing in "healthy ageing" from a public health perspective and marking medical interventions more cost-effective and more widely available.

"Key areas of work":

The Ageing and Life Course Program focuses on four areas: information dissemination, capacity building (research and training), advocacy and policy development. Examples of activities:

  • promoting active and healthy ageing through the "Global Movement for Active Ageing "Global Movement for Active Ageing" (special focus on physical activity and nutrition);
  • training of primary health care workers in old age care;
  • assessing the effects of HIV/AIDS on older people in Africa and their ability to care providers;
  • an initiative on prevention of elder abuse world-wide;
  • implementing ageing friendly standards e.g. "ageing friendly" health care centers
  • Development of policy recommendations for healthy and active ageing. For an example, UN Second World Assembly on Aging.
Dr. Chow stated that another issue of concern to global aging issues heeds equal attention is the role older people play as care providers for the chronically and terminally in patients and the upkeep of children orphaned by AIDS. UNAIDS and WHO estimated that, at the end of 1999, a total of 18.8 million people had died of AIDS. Of these, 14.8 million were in Sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, of 14 million children under 14 years who had lost one or both parents to AIDS, 12.1 live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

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