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Older women living more years in poor health

Published on 12 December 2018 11:00 PM

Women experience more years of poor health in later life than men do, according to new research from Age International’s partners.

Women are living 9.4 years in poor health, compared with 7.8 for men, and these numbers are increasing.

The Global AgeWatch Insights report reveals that - despite progress being made in realising the right to health globally and increasing life expectancy - older people are being prevented from accessing health services. 

The data systems designed to inform the planning and delivery of health services are also systematically excluding older people.

‘This year, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the founding of the World Health Organization, it is significant that older people are still being left behind,’ says Chris Roles, Managing Director at Age International.

Health systems need to adapt

‘Older women and men have the right to health,' Roles says. 'For this to be achieved, they have to be included in key data. Health services have to be adapted to meet their needs.’

The inequality women experience in achieving health life expectancy needs to be addressed in all parts of the world. Global Age Watch Insights 2018 calls for universal health coverage for all ages, in-line with the goals and targets set by governments around the world through the Sustainable Development Goals.

‘Health systems in low and middle-income countries are facing severe challenges,’ Roles concedes ‘But the global drive towards universal health coverage is an opportunity to strengthen these and meet the commitment of the Sustainable Development Goals to ensure healthy lives and wellbeing for all at all ages.’

The report calls for improved access to services - including prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. In many countries, people aged 60 and over are unable to access health services, due to the distance of medical facilities, cost, lack of information or discrimination by health workers, who are often untrained in working with older people.

About the report

The Global AgeWatch Insights is published by AARP and HelpAge International. Age International is the UK member of the global HelpAge network.

For comment, resources or further info on this story please contact: media@ageinternational.org.uk or call 020 3033 1082 

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Last updated: Dec 12 2018

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