I received an invitation to join in the Global Consultation on WHO strategy recently. Unfortunately, the event in held in Geneva, in WHO HQ. Fortunately, with modern information technology available, I was able to join in the webinar and listen to the contributions by Eldercare experts all over the world. Many agendas from the Global strategy draft were discussed. I have attached the draft strategy in this article at the bottom of the page as well.
The impression I felt was ageing issues were too broad, and every different countries had slightly different focus, different political climate, different resources and very different cultures. It is rather confusing for most parts and many did not stick to the discussion agenda, but putting forth when their countries or organisations are doing. In fact, the definition of at what age should you define an older person may differ from each region. It is a 2 days long event and I was able to sit through all the sessions.
Many of the themes regarding healthy ageing or ageing in place is not new, and has been a recurring themes in many of these forums or discussions. Themes like a conducive environment to age in, housing and financial issues, long term care and palliative services, trained frontline manpower, health literacy and promotion, research in gerontology issues etc has been repeatedly mentioned in such forums all over the world. WHO seeks to consolidate all of these ideas into a clear framework as a guide for every country.
As a global leader in healthcare policies, WHO will have to power to set down some ground indices for every country to follow, thus, data can be compared and best practices might be share between countries with similar socio-economic factors. Many countries, especially the local income countries, may find more challenges and perhaps impossible to implement the finalised strategies as some of the delegates shared. They can also facilitate cross countries collaborations in implementing some of the strategies.
Each countries take their turns to speak and comment and many shared their difficulties faced and some solutions done. It is an eye opener for many of us doing gerontology work.