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World Health Day 2021: a fairer, healthier world

Published on 07 April 2021 10:08 AM

On World Health Day 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called to build a fairer, healthier world.

COVID-19 has highlighted what we already know- that some people are able to live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others - entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work and age.

Across the globe older people struggle to get the healthcare they need:

  • Clinics are often far away and difficult to get to.
  • Transport to clinics might be too expensive.
  • They may not be able to afford necessary medicine.
  • The healthcare available may not meet the specific needs of older people.

We provide healthcare and ensure older people get the care they need. Our work helps older people in some of the world's poorest places to be happier, healthier and treated with dignity.

Vaccine equity for everyone, everywhere 

Since the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced COVID-19 as a pandemic nearly a year ago, we have seen billions of people across the globe fight the virus, lose loved ones and struggle against the effects of not only coronavirus, but also the restrictions to stop it spreading.

We support our network members, HelpAge International and other organisations in calling for #VaccineEquity, starting with those at the highest risk from coronavirus.

Older people in all populations, and countries, rich or poor, have the right to a life-saving vaccine.

Read our vaccine equity statement now

Our health programmes

In countries where healthcare is stretched and limited, we help to ensure that older people have access to the healthcare they need. 

Scaling up non-communicable disease interventiones in South East Asia (SUNI-SEA)

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes and most heart diseases  kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally. A staggering 75% of these deaths occurring in low and middle-income countries.

Our healthcare project in the region aims to scale up the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of hypertension and diabetes in older people. 


The project’s aim is to have a set of evidence-based guidelines and instruments that can be used in South-East Asia, and worldwide, to scale-up hypertension and diabetes prevention and management programmes. We will collaborate with highly committed governments in South-East Asia to strengthen their upscaling activities in NCD prevention and management, carry out close monitoring of processes and outcomes, and provide a model that can inspire other countries.

Improving health in Kenya and Mozambique

In many places around the world, older people are living longer but in poor health due to low quality, inaccessible and ill-equipped health services and a lack of understanding and inclusion of older people's health needs. 

Through our Better Health programme in Kenya and Mozambique we're helping to ensure healthcare services are able to understand and address older people's health concerns. 

Through our Better Health programme we've trained medical staff and home-based carers, setting up healthy ageing clubs and establishing older people's groups to advocate for inclusive and effective healthcare. We’ve already trained over 700 members of our older people’s groups on behaviour change, peer support and advocacy to help them campaign for better inclusion of older people in health services. 

Acess to healthcare in Ethiopia - Alemtsehay's story

In Ethiopia, we're working with three local organisations to improve access to healthcare for older people. Alemtsehay went from being supported by a local organisation, to giving back to others in her local community by becoming a home carer on our project. 

Read Alemtsehay's story

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Last updated: Apr 07 2021

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