IFA Skim | March 2017
Professor Nana Araba Apt 

The IFA is saddened to announce the passing of Professor Nana Araba Apt on March 9, 2017.

Professor Apt was a former director of the IFA, as well as a founding member of the African Research on Ageing Network (AFRAN) and the College for Ama (CofA), and a long-time board member of the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA).

Her colleagues at AFRAN described Professor Apt best when they said, "[Professor Apt] was a personal mentor for many and, in direct and indirect ways, an inspiration to us all."
University of New South Wales Launches Vaccine and Infection Research Lab

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) has formally opened the  UNSW Vaccine and Infection Research Lab  (UNSW VIRL) - a national research centre that will work t o reduce the immunisation gap between adults and children through research, teaching and advocacy, with a special focus on the elderly, high risk and vulnerable populations.

IFA Director Mr. Graeme Prior was in attendance at the launch, to provide remarks on the importance of healthy ageing and the IFA's focus on immunisation with the World Coalition on Adult Vaccination.

Millions of Australian adults are unvaccinated and it's increasing disease risk for all of us

Public attention has recently focused on improving vaccination rates in Australian infants and children.  But actually the largest unvaccinated group of people recommended for immunisation are adults.  Of 4.1 million unvaccinated Australians, 92% (3.8 million) are adults, and only a small fraction are children.  Improving adult vaccination rates will reduce their risk of illness and death, and lower transmission of infection in the community.
The University of New South Wales' latest research shows that only 51% of older Australian adults receive all government-funded vaccinations each year, compared to 93% of Australian children, and 73% of Australian adolescents.  Coverage in eligible high-risk groups is even lower: around 40% of people with medical or occupational risk factors receive their annual influenza vaccine, and only 13% of indigenous young adults with medical risk factors receive their pneumococcal vaccine.  Migrants, refugees and travellers are also often at risk and under-vaccinated.

Creating An Age-Friendly Hong Kong

Facing head on the inevitability of an aging population, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government has never failed to include older adults in its policy addresses since 1997.

While aging in place as a policy objective is welcomed by the public, it is important to work out a detailed framework on how the entire society can work together in order to achieve this goal. 

Written by 
Grace Chan, Chief Officer, Hong Kong Council of Social Services

Stop Defining Me by My Age

In a diverse society and as human beings we tend to unintentionally group people based on what we look like for example sex, race, disability.  In doing so we stereotype people and make the assumption that all members of a "group" are the same.

Stereotyping and discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age is called ageism.  It affects both younger and older people but older adults tend to experience the brunt of the problem.  Stereotyping is always problematic and especially regarding ageing as a hallmark of older age is great diversity. 

Written by 
Alana Officer, Senior Health Adviser,

Department of Ageing and Life Course, World Health Organization

Apply Now to Attend  the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Workshop Announcement

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), is organising a capacity development workshop for Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS) from the Africa region.  The workshop will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 17 May on the eve of the 2017 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in preparation for the 2017 HLPF.  The meeting will bring together representatives of African MGoS at the UN Conference Centre. 
The objective of the workshop is to strengthen the capacity of these groups and stakeholders to effectively engage in the implementation and follow-up and review of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063 goals.  In this regard, the workshop will facilitate the articulation of MGoS perspectives on the implementation and follow-up of the SDGs and Agenda 2063 Goals.  The outcome of the workshop will feed into the deliberations of the 2017 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development that will be held on 18 and 19 May 2017 in the same venue.  Moreover, the workshop will enable structured and coordinated participation of MGoS in the regional Forum. 

American Diabetes Association Releases Position Statement

Diabetic retinopathy diagnostic assessment and treatment options have improved dramatically since the 2002 American Diabetes Association Position Statement.  These improvements include the widespread adoption of optical coherence tomography to assess retinal thickness and intraretinal pathology and wide-field fundus photography to reveal clinically silent microvascular lesions.  
Treatment of diabetic macular edema is now achieved by intravitreous injection of anti-vascular endo-thelial growth factor agents, and the same drugs are now used for proliferative diabetic retinopathy.  Improvements in medications and devices for the systemic therapy of diabetes have also improved the ability of patients to optimize their metabolic control.  This Position Statement incorporates these recent developments for the use of physicians and patients. 

 ( to raise awareness of diabetic retinopathy)
What NGOs want from Australia's foreign policy white paper

From March 28 to 30, Australia's global ambassadors will be gathering in Canberra to discuss a range of topics on foreign affairs and trade.  At the top of the agenda is the forthcoming Foreign Policy White Paper - the first in 14 years.  The white paper will set Australia's priorities for global engagement moving forward, including the aid program.
Australia's NGOs have had their say through an initial call for public submission, which closed on Feb. 28.  
Australia's NGOs have had their say through an initial call for public submission, which closed on Feb. 28.  In particular, these NGOs put forward a strong message on the need for the white paper to be inclusive for all demographics - including women and girls, elderly, children and people with disability.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, a white paper taskforce, and Australia's ambassadors now have the job of reviewing, debating and incorporating the diverse views and needs of individuals, groups and organizations with a stake on Australia's foreign policy.

The Law Commission of Ontario Releases Final Report on Legal Capacity, Decision-Making, and Guardianship

The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO)'s Final Report recommends a comprehensive plan to reform Ontario's laws and policies regarding powers of attorney, guardianship and health care consent.  This project responds to public concerns regarding misuse of powers of attorney, elder abuse, excessive intervention in the lives of persons who have disabilities to make independent decisions, barriers to access to justice, and the widespread lack of understanding about Ontario's complex laws in this area.