From Plan to Action: Combating Ageism to Achieve Healthy Ageing

From Plan to Action: Combating Ageism to Achieve Healthy AgeingWorld Health Assembly side event, Wednesday 25 May, 6.30–8.30pm at the ICRC Humanitarium, entrance by ICRC Museum, Avenue de la Paix 19.

The impact of ageism on global health will be the focus of discussion at a side event at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva this week (Wednesday 25 May).

From Plan to Action: Combating Ageism to Achieve Healthy Ageing is an interactive discussion examining how ageism impacts on society and policy, and the actions needed to improve older people’s health and wellbeing.

“Older people often face difficulties accessing quality health services,” said Rachel Albone, Health & Care Policy Advisor at HelpAge International.

"Our work with older people has shown deep rooted ageism within the health sector, including denial of medication, abuse, neglect and negative attitudes by health workers."

The event will be moderated by Dr John Beard, Director of the Department of Ageing and Life Course at the World Health Organization (WHO), and features speakers from the Government of Sweden, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), HelpAge International Tanzania and the International Federation on Ageing (IFA).

HelpAge will be represented by Amleset Tewodros, Country Director at HelpAge International Tanzania, who is speaking at the event, and by Charlotte Aberdein, Health and Care Policy Officer, and, Rachel Albone, Health & Care Policy Advisor.

People aged 60 and over make up 12.3% of the global population. This is projected to reach 16.5% by 2030, up to three quarters of whom will live in developing countries.

Member states are expected to endorse a Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health during the assembly. The strategy will outline the actions needed to ensure people everywhere can live long and healthy lives, including efforts to combat ageism.

Ageism can have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of older people. It feeds the assumption that older people will benefit less from health promotion and preventative strategies, which in turn suggests less attention should be paid to their needs.

Anwarra, a 75-year-old woman from Bangladesh, told HelpAge about the problems she faced seeking treatment: “The doctors didn’t care because I was old and poor. They wanted money. They kicked me out. I returned home.”

HelpAge is calling for increased access to health services for older people and their involvement in all efforts towards the achievement of healthy ageing to ensure policy makers listen to and act on their views.

Esther Wamera, a long-time HelpAge activist, will be speaking at another side event highlighting the importance of older people’s engagement.

Healthy Ageing: Innovative Approaches to Promote Health Across the Lifecourse, also features the Director General of WHO, Margaret Chan, the Director of WHO’s Ageing and Life Course Department, John Beard and representatives from Australia, Japan, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Thailand and the United States of America.

This event will take place on Friday 27 May 12.15-13.45pm inside the United Nations, Room XXIII.


Notes to editors:

For photos and social media assets:

International Media Contacts: Sarah Gillam, Media Relations Manager, in London on Tel: +44 (0) 20 7148 7623. Mobile: + 44 (0) 7713 567 624 Email:  skype: sarah.gillam.hai or

Ed Knight, Media Intern, on Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7148 7606. Email: skype: edward.knight.hai

About HelpAge International

HelpAge International helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives. Our work is strengthened through our global network of like-minded organisations - the only one of its kind in the world.

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