Non-Communicable Diseases: UN High Level Meeting must address all age groups
Despite the prevalence of non-communicable diseases and Alzheimer's in older age, we are concerned that the UN High Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) does not focus on younger age groups at the expense of older people.
It is important that the outcomes of the summit reach all age groups and take special note that two-thirds of those affected by NCDs are over 60, with a growing number in the developing world.
This is why diagnosis, treatment, care and support for people over 60 should be just as important as for those younger age groups who are at risk of NCDs because of lifestyle and other factors.
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Given the growth of NCDs in the older age group, sidelining older people makes no sense as it will limit the outcome of the summit, compromise development achievements and constitute a violation of older people's right to health.
We are pleased that in the run-up to the summit there has been progress towards the idea of a whole life-course approach to prevention, treatment, management and care, as well as acceptance that Alzheimer's disease and other dementias should be recognised as priority NCDs. These issues are now reflected in the draft political statement for the Summit.
Nevertheless it is important that the final document is clear on these questions.
I am at the UN NCDs summit, together with our global ambassador Alex Kalache, to make these points in collaboration with others including Alzheimer's Disease International, AARP and the World Palliative Care Alliance, as well as the NCD Alliance.
And we will be working with our partners on the development of age-inclusive targets and ensure the removal of discriminatory language such as "premature death".
With older people so clearly at risk from non communicable diseases, designing quality healthcare, available for the course of an entire lifetime - inclusive of older age - must be an essential element of a successful non communicable disease strategy.
What you can do
- We are asking all our supporters, Affiliates and partners to raise these issues with their government representatives at the summit.
- Do you think older people in your country face discrimination in getting treatment for cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and dementia? We'd love to hear from you - leave us a comment below or post on our Facebook page.
- Keep up to date on how our campaign is going by signing up for our eNewsletter.
- Read this edition of Ageing and Development (1.1mb) which includes more stories on older people and non communicable diseases.