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Include specific tasks and goals to improve health of the global aging population into the WHO 13th General Programme of Work (GPW13)

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It appears that in the forthcoming work program of the World Health Organization for the next 5 years – 2018-2023 – the issue of aging and aging-related ill health is excluded completely!

This means that, within the next 5 years, according to this document, the World Health Organization is not obliged to do anything to care for the health of older persons or to improve their health, not to mention conduct any research and development to create new therapies and technologies for improving the health of the aged. The issues of aged health are not in the WHO work program! This is the essence of ageism in health care and health research!

It should be obvious, not just to any health professional but to any lay person, that the global population aging poses grave and urgent challenges for global health, in the “developed” as well as the “developing” world. In the “developing world” in particular, not addressing the problems of aging, not improving national geriatric care and research capabilities, will condemn millions of the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged older people to misery that could be avoided. The explicit exclusion of the health needs of the global aging population in the WHO draft work program is inadmissible, even incredible.

How can this exclusion coexist with the mission of WHO’s division on “Ageing and Life Course”? How can it coexist with the recently adopted WHO’s Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health (GSAP) for 2016-2020, endorsed by all the WHO member states? According to its goal statement, the GSAP must prepare for the “Decade of Healthy Ageing from 2020 to 2030” which was also announced by WHO. We urge the WHO to improve coordination among its various arms!

Most importantly, we urge the WHO to include and emphasize specific tasks and goals to maintain and improve the health of the global aging population in its work program. Among others, these tasks and goals must include enhancing scientific research and technological development aimed to provide new effective and safe therapies to meet the pressing health needs of the global aging population.

Ilia Stambler, PhD

Chief Science Officer. Vetek (Seniority) Association – the Senior Citizens Movement (Israel)

Coordinator. Longevity for All


We also urge you to make your voice heard, and respond to the WHO consultation, in the link below (the deadline is until November 23, the responding is easy, and can be of any length, even very short). Please demand that WHO emphasizes the health care and research for the global aging population, and includes specific tasks and goals to improve health of the global aging population into its work program.

Even after this public consultation is over, there will still be time, at least until May 2018, until the program submission to the WHO Assembly. Please keep on advocating for this critical issue!

See also this facebook post.

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