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World Congress on Public Health: A great opportunity for Age Demands Action on Health in Ethiopia

08 May 2012

As part of Age Demands Action on Health, HelpAge participated in the 13th World Congress on Public Health held in Addis Ababa on 23-27 April 2012.

The event brought together 3,000 health practitioners, experts and organisations from around the world to share their experiences and ideas. The theme for this congress was "Towards Global Health Equity: Threats and Opportunities" and included various panel sessions, discussions and an exhibition.

An exciting opportunity for HelpAge

Our team took this opportunity to introduce and share HelpAge's work with and for older people with the participants. We were amongst 35 exhibitors including organisations like World Health Organisation,Pfizer, Save the Children Norway, and Save Your Generation Ethiopia.

ADA leader, Tilahun Abebe speaks to a visitor at the conference.Over 350 people visited the booth to learn about our work on older people's right and access to health. There were numerous other booths displaying initiatives that could help achieve a world where older people lead secure, active and healthy lives. Save Your Generation Ethiopia, shared their work with a local taxi driver to raise awareness around societal issues through a newsletter and entertainment programmes. It would be useful to collaborate with them to work directly with transport authorities and providers to make their services age-friendly.

We also had the chance to meet representatives from the Ethiopian Public Health Association and the Ethiopian Nurses Association. Hopefully, this can be the start of forming a partnership that will strengthen our influence with decision makers for Age Demands Action

Health camps and eco-friendly cities

I also attended two presentations referring specifically to older people. A presentation on health camps for older people especially caught my attention. It revolved around running health camps and medical check ups for older people and home visits for those who are bed ridden. The health camps also allowed older people's health to be evaluated in various communities.

Talking to the participants about older people's right and access to health in Ethiopia.Interestingly the study revealed that the main sources of information for older people are their families. Health practitioners and the media were almost bottom of the list. This indicates that the media should mainstream older people's issues to communicate the opportunities and challenges of ageing to younger generations, who refer to the media frequently.

Another presentation on eco-friendly environments show that safe roads with pavements would decrease the public transportation burden in Ethiopia. This would be a good case for the Ethiopian ADA delegation to take to road authorities. Safe and accessible roads would mean more pedestrians including older people could walk the roads safely.

Raising awareness of older people's right to health

On the final day, Tilahun Abebe, an ADA leader in Ethiopia and HelpAge staff members walked through the main hallway of the Millennium Hall holding placards and messages on older people's right to health. That definitely got people's attention! A large group of participants who were on their coffee break enquired about our work and the messages.

Another health event in Addis is planned for later in the year, which is a further opportunity to promote our main message for the ADA campaign in Ethiopia, "a specialised and age inclusive health environment".

Read more about Age Demands Action on Health in Ethiopia

Support older people's rights in Ethiopia by signing our Age Demands Action petition.

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Author profile

Erna Mentesnot Hintz
Country: Ethiopia
Job title: Communications Officer

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.