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Healthy ageing clubs to launch in Africa

Published on 17 August 2018 09:00 AM

The launch of healthy ageing clubs in sub-Saharan Africa could radically improve the health and wellbeing of tens of thousands who are ageing.

Healthy ageing clubs aim to encourage a healthy lifestyle over the course of a lifetime - by fostering a friendly social environment where people in later life can learn about their health and take steps together to improve their wellbeing.

The clubs are being launched by Age International, the global ageing charity, as part of our Better Health in Africa programme – a programme that is set to directly improve the quality of geriatric health services in Kenya and Mozambique. 

The Better Health programme is a continuation of healthcare work which launched thanks to UK aid and public donations to Age UK shops. 

The work is continuing thanks to the Maxwell Harvey Fund.

Geriatric healthcare lacking in Africa  

‘Due to insufficient or inappropriate healthcare options, older people living in sub-Saharan Africa often go undiagnosed and untreated - and their health and wellbeing suffers,’ explains Poppy Walton, Programme Development and Funding Manager at Age International.

‘This can be exacerbated by conditions which carry with them a stigma, particularly neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's. These concerning health trends are not matched by appropriate policy or fiscal attention.’

Programme will target people who have been neglected

‘In line with the leave no one behind agenda, this programme will target the poorest and most vulnerable older people who are often neglected from health programmes,’ says Tony Hopkins, who is Head of Programmes at Age International.

‘The focus given to diseases that lead to disability and exclusion, such as blindness and dementia, will ensure older people who need access to home-based and long-term care are given particular attention.’

Investing in training, carers and equipment

As well as launching healthy ageing clubs, Age International will ensure medical professionals are trained to a greater standard.

Volunteer carers, who visit older people in their homes on behalf of Age International, will also be fully equipped to care for older people.

Age International will launch clubs for older people, which will offer support to members with chronic conditions and disabilities.

The charity also aims to empower specialist groups of older people – through training and support – to be able to monitor the success of the programme and advocate for more inclusive, effective delivery of health services from their governments.

In working on policy reform, and generating evidence, the project will seek broader impacts across the region.

Age International hope to reach 29 thousand people directly 

Better Health in Africa will directly reach 29,000 older women and men, with the aim that at least 70% report significant improvements in their personal health and wellbeing by the end of the three years.

Fast Facts 

  1. By 2050 older people living in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to quadruple to 161 million
  2. Over 50% of people with disabilities can’t afford healthcare in low-income countries
  3. There are estimated to be nearly 50 million people with dementia worldwide, with 60% of those in low to middle-income countries. This is set to rise to 71% by 2050.

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The Maxwell Harvey Fund

With our thanks and gratitude to the late Maureen Marjorie Harvey, who has funded this programme via her legacy ‘The Maxwell Harvey Fund’ named in memory of her late husband. Without this support, we would not be able to undertake this work.

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Last updated: Sep 25 2018

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