The efficacy of global health infrastructure to support a growing ageing population is a vital part of healthy ageing. This includes advocating alongside countries in the Global South, where public health infrastructure, including that concerning vaccination across the life course, may still be in its early stages. Establishing a cohesive vaccination paradigm means challenging ageist attitudes that seek to diminish the value of older people within society, in part by limiting access to life-saving vaccinations.
Vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) such as whooping cough, diarrhea, polio, measles, and human papilloma virus are common conversations throughout childhood, yet diseases such as influenza, herpes zoster (shingles), pneumonia, tetanus, and meningitis also have dire consequences across the population. These diseases often have a particularly damaging effect on people with weakened immune systems, including people with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like heart disease and diabetes, and older people.
On the 22-23 March 2017 in Geneva, The World Health Organization (WHO) held a meeting entitled “WHO meeting on Immunization in the Elderly” that brought together adult vaccination stakeholders. IFA Secretary General, Dr. Jane Barratt, had the opportunity to attend this meeting, which underscored the impacts and opportunities of implementing vaccination programs for older people, specifically in low and middle-income countries. This meeting is just one example of the many initiatives taking place internationally to develop good practices in adult vaccination.
By increasing the visibility of the life course approach to vaccination as an important part of healthy ageing, societies will take the critical step to ensure that everyone has a chance to maintain and/or improve their health, well-being and functional capacity in later life.
2017 World Immunization Week (WIW) will take place from 24-30 April with a campaign that focuses on protecting people of all ages from preventable diseases through vaccination, and encouraging countries to make progress on the goals laid out in the Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011-2020.
Throughout World Immunization Week, the IFA encourages readers to use the provided social media resources below to share with your networks the importance of improving adult vaccination uptake rates and to follow/re-post from the IFA’s social media platforms:
World Immunization Week – Social Media Calendar
The Stanford Center on Longevity today named “TAME,” a student entry from the National University of Science & Technology (NUST) in Islamabad, Pakistan, as the first-place winner of the 2016-2017 Design Challenge competition. The team from NUST presented their anti-tremor prototype to win the $10,000 grand prize, beating out over 75 entries during the course of the competition. The TAME design is a wearable device providing real-time pathological wrist tremor suppression, thus enabling activities such as dressing, eating, and grasping that are keys to daily independence.
The second-place winner was Rendever from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and third place went to Uppo from Virginia Tech.
This year’s Design Challenge competition was focused on products and services innovating aging in place. The competition is open to all university students from around the world who want to design products and services which optimize long life for us all. All finalists receive $1,000 to build a prototype and travel expenses are covered to bring the teams to Stanford University to present their designs to a panel of renowned industry, academic, and government leaders. Additionally, all finalists spend the day after the competition at the Stanford Graduate School of Business to receive entrepreneurial guidance on taking their product/service to market.
To learn more about the winning designs, click here.
IFA – Live from New York
Post by Dr. Sandra Timmermann, IFA UN Representative and Editor of Live From New York.
Please e-mail Dr. Timmermann with any questions or comments.
IFA UN TEAM ADVOCATES FOR OLDER WOMEN’S ISSUES AT CSW IN MARCH
The 61st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) convened at the United Nations from March 13-24 with over 6,000 women from around the globe attending. The theme was “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work.” The UN team advocated throughout the two weeks with a prepared handout to share at parallel and side events that addressed older women’s issues. There was tangible progress made in getting references to “ALL women,” “women of all ages,” and “throughout the life cycle” infused in 45 agreed conclusions of CSW61.
For the first time in the history of CSW, the empowerment of indigenous women was covered substantially as an emerging issue/focus area. Given the long history of efforts to place indigenous people’s issues on the agenda, it was an achievement.
The report on CSW deliberations included the following conclusion: “The Commission recognizes that the sharing of family responsibilities creates an enabling family environment for women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work, which contributes to development, that women and men make a great contribution to the welfare of their family, and that in particular women’s contribution to the home, including unpaid care and domestic work, which is still not adequately recognized, generates human and social capital essential for social and economic development.”
The theme for CSW62 in 2018 is “Challenges and Opportunities in Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls.”
OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP ON AGEING TO RECONVENE IN JULY
Preparations have begun for the eighth session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing which will meet from 5 to 7 July 2017 to continue discussions on the protection of rights of older persons. Member States, national human rights institutions, and non-governmental organizations have been asked to comment on two specific issues: (1) equality and non-discrimination; and (2) neglect, violence, and abuse. Deadline is 5 May 2017. Learn more here.
IFA RAISES ISSUES OF AGING AT UN COMMISSION ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT
Cynthia Stuen, one of IFA’s UN Representatives, delivered a statement to the United Nations Commission on Population and Development on 6 April, on behalf of the Stakeholder Group on Ageing, of which IFA is a member. The statement drew specific attention to issues affecting older persons around the world: income security, health and care, and violence and abuse. It was stressed that there was an urgent need for adequate data in order to ensure measurement of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Click here to read the full statement.
IFA UN REPRESENTATIVE RECIPIENT OF AWARD
IFA UN Representative Cynthia Stuen will be receiving the prestigious Maggie Kuhn Award for her exceptional dedication and work in ageing and social services, nonprofit leadership and public advocacy, on 11 May 2017. Helen Hamlin, long-time UN Representative and team leader, received the award several years ago. To find out more about the Maggie Kuhn Awards, click here.