Age Demands Action on Health
(c) HelpAge International World Health Day, on 7 April, celebrates the founding of the World Health Organization. For HelpAge, it is a day of collective action to campaign for older people's health and wellbeing.
Each year on World Health Day, Age Demands Action campaigners of all ages, across the world, fight for better healthcare for older people and follow up on pledges governments made in previous years.
Universal health coverage
This year more than 40 countries took action. Building on their achievements from 2013, campaigners called on their governments for universal health coverage (UHC). This means affordable, accessible healthcare for all.
Our world population is ageing and it’s ageing now. Governments must provide access to primary healthcare, essential medicines and trained healthcare workers to respond to older people’s needs.
Older campaigners taking action
On 7 April, campaigners for Age Demands Action on Health met high level officials such as Health Ministers, they spoke to the media and took part in marches as well as tweeted their decision-makers.
Here is a snapshot of ADA on Health activities from around the world:
In Ethiopia, we used our HelpAge radio programme to interview decision makers and older people about the impact of vector borne diseases, such as malaria.
In Jamaica, we organised radio and television interviews with older people who called for better treatment for older people at health clinics and hospitals.
Our partner, the Red Cross of Serbia, hosted a public discussion on patients’ rights with the Ministry of Health, the Institute for Public Health and older people's organisations.
In Sri Lanka, there was a forum for older people to discuss suitable health programmes with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Services.
In Vietnam, interviews with decision makers were screened on national television. The focus of the discussion was basic health checks and older people’s healthcare issues.
Being outdoors was the theme of ADA on Health in Finland. Our partner there challenged politicians to take a friend out on World Health Day and share a message or photo on their Facebook page.
In Ghana, ADA campaigners asked for health data to be disaggregated by age and to include those over 60 among other health demands.
Since ADA on Health took place on 7 April, we have heard many success stories directly from our campaigners. Here are just a few examples:
- Older people in Haiti have used ADA on Health as an opportunity to meet the Ministry of Public Health and raise awareness about the health issues faced by older people. 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.
- In response to ADA campaigners, the Ministry of Health in Kyrgyzstan has created a working group whose main aim will be to consider introducing gerontological services throughout Kyrgyzstan. The group will also set up a resource centre for older people.
- 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.