Experts call for World Health Organization to rethink 'unacceptable' plans

January 04, 2018

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been accused of "washing its hands of older people" in its proposed priorities for future work.

In a letter published online in The Lancet, experts on ageing from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) say the draft WHO 13th General Programme of Work makes no reference to older people or to conditions associated with later life, such as dementia.

This is despite people aged 60 or over making up more than 12 per cent of the world's population, a figure that will rise to 16.5 per cent by 2030. In less developed regions, they will make up 10 per cent of the population by 2030.

The General Programme of Work sets out the strategic vision for the activities of WHO, with the 12th and current one ending in 2019. It defines the key health areas where WHO aims to shape global health co-operation.

Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, professor of social policy and international development at UEA's School of International Development, said: "Older people account for a much greater proportion of the global burden of disease and of need for health care than do other age groups.

"This is part of a wider pattern of explicit discrimination against older people in global health policy."

Setting out their concerns Prof Lloyd-Sherlock and co-authors Prof Shah Ebrahim and Prof Martin McKee, from the LSHTM, add: "Over the past decade, WHO has begun to address this key global challenge, yet the proposed WHO 13th General Programme of Work makes no reference to older people or to conditions associated with later life.

"This is entirely unacceptable. If the proposed Programme is approved, it will considerably diminish WHO's global authority and will brand it as a champion of age discrimination.

"We therefore urge that WHO rectify this striking oversight and that the proposed Programme include substantial plans relating to the health of older people and challenges of population ageing."

Last November the draft 13th General Programme of Work was considered by WHO's Executive Board. This month the Executive Board is due to further consider and submit the Programme to the World Health Assembly, which takes place in May.
-end-
'The World Health Organization washes its hands of older people', Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, Shah Ebrahim and Martin McKee, is published in the January 6 print issue of The Lancet.

University of East Anglia

Related Health Care Articles from Brightsurf:

Study evaluates new World Health Organization Labor Care Guide for maternity care providers
The World Health Organization developed the new Labor Care Guide to support clinicians in providing good quality, women-centered care during labor and childbirth.

Six ways primary care "medical homes" are lowering health care spending
New analysis of 394 U.S. primary care practices identifies the aspects of care delivery that are associated with lower health care spending and lower utilization of emergency care and hospital admissions.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

Spending on primary care vs. other US health care expenditures
National health care survey data were used to assess the amount of money spent on primary care relative to other areas of health care spending in the US from 2002 to 2016.

MU Health Care neurologist publishes guidance related to COVID-19 and stroke care
A University of Missouri Health Care neurologist has published more than 40 new recommendations for evaluating and treating stroke patients based on international research examining the link between stroke and novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Large federal program aimed at providing better health care underfunds primary care
Despite a mandate to help patients make better-informed health care decisions, a ten-year research program established under the Affordable Care Act has funded a relatively small number of studies that examine primary care, the setting where the majority of patients in the US receive treatment.

International medical graduates care for Medicare patients with greater health care needs
A study by a Massachusetts General Hospital research team indicates that internal medicine physicians who are graduates of medical schools outside the US care for Medicare patients with more complex medical needs than those cared for by graduates of American medical schools.

The Lancet Global Health: Improved access to care not sufficient to improve health, as epidemic of poor quality care revealed
Of the 8.6 million deaths from conditions treatable by health care, poor-quality care is responsible for an estimated 5 million deaths per year -- more than deaths due to insufficient access to care (3.6 million) .

Under Affordable Care Act, Americans have had more preventive care for heart health
By reducing out-of-pocket costs for preventive treatment, the Affordable Care Act appears to have encouraged more people to have health screenings related to their cardiovascular health.

High-deductible health care plans curb both cost and usage, including preventive care
A team of researchers based at IUPUI has conducted the first systematic review of studies examining the relationship between high-deductible health care plans and the use of health care services.

Read More: Health Care News and Health Care Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.