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Age Demands Action on Health: Success stories

05 Jun 2014

Older campaigner in Kyrgyzstan. (c) HelpAge InternationalCampaigners from all over the world took part in our Age Demands Action on Health campaign on World Health Day. This year we saw some incredible achievements, which we wanted to share with you!

Kyrgyzstan

After three years of campaigning and lots of hard work, older people in Kyrgyzstan are seeing real change. They have been demanding better medical services specifically for older people.

HelpAge’s partner Public Association of Social Protection of Population (PASPP) met with the government Ministries on a monthly basis and continued to raise the issue of the lack of gerontological services in Kyrgyzstan.

PASSP organised conferences which were attended by the Ministry of Health. Research findings were presented to the ministry to highlight the high percentage of health problems faced by older people.

In response to their campaign efforts, the Ministry of Health has created a working group to look at introducing gerontological services throughout Kyrgyzstan. The group will also set up a resource centre for older people, which is an extremely positive step!

Campaign tips: During meetings with the ministries it was vital to provide evidence and offer solutions.

Laila Muhamedovna Akchurina, the head of PASSP in Kant said: ”Research and evidence are very important because it shows the real conditions that older people face.”

Haiti

ADA campaigners in Haiti. (c) HelpAge InternationalFor the past two years, older people in Haiti have been calling on the Ministry of Health to take into account the health needs of older people. Older people in Haiti often don’t have access to healthcare due to high costs.

Campaigners have been meeting with The Ministry of Public Health and to raise awareness about health issues faced by older Haitians. As a result, older people’s health is now mentioned in the Haitian Public Health Policy, which could potentially help around 700,000 older people in Haiti. Incredible!

Campaign tips: Older people in Haiti have learned that a regular campaign by committed and determined people eventually produces results.

Jacky, our communications lead in Haiti said: “We must continue to fight for successes while demanding full respect for the rights of older people.”

Occupied Palestinian Territories

ADA for Health campaign in oPt. (c) HelpAge InternationalOver the past two years a group of incredible older campaigners in the occupied Palestinian territories have come together and taken part in Age Demands Action. This year for ADA on Health, as always, older people were at the centre of the campaign.

Mr Shehada, our campaign leader in Gaza, met Dr Yousef Abu Alreish, the manager of the general directorate for hospitals to discuss the services provided for older people in hospitals.

As a result of the discussions, Dr Yousef pledged to send a formal letter to all hospitals asking them to include older people in a list of priority groups for surgery and waiting lists.

He also said: "I’m happy to be part of the ADA campaign and be working to make our future more age-friendly.”

Older campaigners in Gaza also met the Director of Quality Improvement at the Ministry of Health, Dr Mousa Elemawy. They called on the ministry's systems to be more age-friendly and got positive feedback that the ministry will improve health centres by adding ramps, elevators and age-friendly bathrooms.

You can read more about our campaigning in oPt in Nader’s blog.

As well as these amazing achievements, we have also received more positive feedback from ADA campaigners:

“As we demand better policies on ageing, we are making ways for you young people,” George Were, 67, activist from Kenya.

“We older people now think our government is aware of our rights. Five years ago this was not the case,’’ Mr Albano Luoga, 70, Tanzania.

“Health is the most valuable asset of people in Slovenia. Civil society needs to become more active, to be able to defend these basic human rights,” Mateja Kouh Novak, 71, President of ZDUS, Slovenia.

Find out more about, Age Demands Action, our unique movement of campaigners across the world; where young and older fight for a better and fairer world for older people.

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Jemma Stovell
Country: Australia
Job title: Campaigns Officer

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