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Thursday, October 23, 2014

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Raising Awareness of Adult Vaccinations

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Immunization is a core component of the human right to health, a standard element in any effective, preventative public health approach, and an individual, community, and governmental responsibility.  Current advocacy efforts to promote the importance of immunization have focused primarily on children, yet there is a grave lack of awareness about the fact that older people are equally, if not more vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases.

IFA has created a survey to better understand the uptake of adult vaccinations and to promote awareness of the importance of vaccinations throughout the life course.

World Sight Day 2014

WSD14_logoOctober 9, also known as World Sight Day 2014, is the international day of awareness focusing on advocacy of blindness and vision impairment.

The International Federation of Ageing is working to raise awareness of the co-morbid relationship between ageing and vision health.  It is unacceptable that vision loss is currently the leading cause of age-related disability when 80 percent of such diseases are preventable.

The IFA has published reports on ageing and vision health, such as the Global Ageing and Vision Advocacy Summit and The High Cost of Low Vision.

The IFA is also currently coordinating many projects involved with ageing and vision health:

  • Depth Perception: Fusion of Art and Culture – an art auction on November 19 showcasing the art work of 13 artists from Turkey and OCAD University to support the IFA in raising awareness about age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Action in Global Advocacy – addressing preventable vision impairment and blindness across ageing and vision organizations worldwide by responding to gaps in coalition building and advocacy campaigns, in hopes of creating one voice in support of vision health and ageing
  • Diabetic Retinopathy Barometer Survey – the collaboration of civil society organizations in the field of vision, diabetes, and ageing to determine the unmet needs of diabetic macular edema and diabetic retinopathy globally through education, health policy, and advocacy

Commitment and collaboration of ageing and vision sectors is crucial in order to create effective change to ensure citizens worldwide have the opportunity to see a future.  Affiliated partners of the IFA such as the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) are working towards raising public awareness of blindness and vision impairment through education, policy and practice initiatives such as universal eye health, and this year’s call to action for World Sight day: no more avoidable blindness!  For more information, please see IAPB World Sight Day 2014.

World Sight Day - Companion Animals

seeing-eye-dog-trainingIn addition to all other advocacy campaigns for vision impairment and blindness, the IFA in collaboration with Bayer HealthCare supports World Sight Day through the recently published report on Companion Animals and the Health of Older Persons.  This report highlights the co-dependent relationship of humans and other animals associated with vision impairment, such as:

  • Support for blind or deaf people, police or military
  • Pet assisted therapy that is “designed to promote improvement in human, physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning”
  • Animal-assisted interventions such as service animals, which are “trained to assist people with various aspects of functional living”

For more information, check out Bayer Animal Health!

International Day of Older Persons - China National Committee on Ageing

mrp_quanlaobanIn response to the International Day of Older Persons on 1 October as well as the Day of Elder Persons in China on 9 September, the International Department of China National Committee on Ageing (CNCA) has disseminated information regarding plans for development of elderly programmes as well as preferential policies for the elderly in China.

Please see more information on the Plan for Development of Elderly Programmes in China during the Twelfth Five-Year Plan Period as well as Preferential Policies for the Elderly

These documents reflect CNCA and its relationships with relevant United Nations agencies in China, foreign embassies of China, and other international organizations related to ageing and older people.  The aim of this work is to further enhance information communication on ageing by including Chinese traditions of respect for older people.

International Day of Older Persons: October 1

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October 1 marks the United Nations General Assembly designation of the International Day of Older Persons!  The theme for 2014 is “Leaving no one behind: Promoting a society for all”, calling attention to the understanding that demography and population dynamics will shape developmental challenges and matters for sustainable development.

 

United Nations, Social Policy and Development: “Older persons make wide-ranging contributions to economic and social development. However, discrimination and social exclusion persist. We must overcome this bias in order to ensure a socially and economically active, secure and healthy ageing population.” – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, United Nations

United Nations, Human Rights: “We can turn a blind eye to many issues as if they do not concern us. But getting old is part of life and we will all pay the price for our inaction.” – United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte

World Health Organization: “Ageing is a development issue. Healthy older persons are a resource for their families, their communities and the economy.” – WHO Brasilia declaration on healthy ageing, 1996.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: “A growing divide in the well-being of older people will increase the stress on social protection. And it will jeopardize the effectiveness of recent reforms of labour markets, pension and long-term care systems.”

Global AgeWatch Index 2014

Global AgeWatch Index cover photoTo coincide with the UN International Day of Older Persons on October 1, HelpAge International has launched the Global AgeWatch Index 2014.  It is the only global index on the well-being of older people and ranks 96 countries – 91% of older people in the world – on the social and economic well-being of older people.

The index is based on four domains: income security, health status, capability, and enabling environment.  The report looks at pension coverage in detail, with a section calling attention to data gaps on older people.  It concludes that economic growth will not improve older people’s well-being and that specific policies need to be put in place to address the implications of ageing.

HelpAge has developed this index as a way to:
1) Democratise international data by presenting it in a form that assists governments and policy makers in developing solutions to challenges facing the growing older populations,
2) Highlight data gaps in terms of both countries and areas relevant to the well-being of older people ,
3) Broaden policy makers’ understanding of the needs of older people to help us realize the multidimensional nature of later life, and
4) Provide countries with a baseline to measure future progress and for education purposes.

“The unprecedented rate and speed of population ageing presents policy makers with a challenge.” said Toby Porter, Chief Executive of HelpAge International. “Only if they act now will they have a chance to meet the needs of their citizens and keep their economies going.”

For more information, please see the press release and the Global AgeWatch Website.

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