Appreciating and acknowledging older people

Health experts and policymakers from Australia and overseas have gathered in Melbourne to discuss the opportunities and challenges societies face in taking care of their ageing populations.

Healthy Ageing in a Global World: Opportunities and Challenges, presented by The Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct (AMREP) in conjunction with Diabetes Victoria and Diabetes Australia, was held in the lead up to World Health Day on 7 April.

Director of Monash Research for an Ageing Society, Professor Colette Browning, said the aim of the forum was to encourage policymakers, politicians, and the general public to help create societies that appreciate and acknowledge older people.

“Through the forum we hope to get people talking about health and ageing, and the positive contribution that elderly people make to society,” Professor Browning said.

The keynote address was presented by the President of the International Diabetes Federation, Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, one of the foremost medical advocates for diabetes prevention and management in Africa and and President of the International Diabetes Federation.

Professor Mbanya was a driving force behind last year's United Nations General Assembly meeting on the global crisis of non-communicable diseases, a meeting which set important worldwide health targets.

Professor Mbanya was joined by leading experts from Monash University as well as Dr Aabha Chaudhary, the chairperson of Anugraha, an Indian NGO dedicated to the welfare of senior citizens in underprivileged rural communities, Dr Dharmapriya Wesumperuma, the Head of Programs – East Asia Pacific at HelpAge International, the Honorable David Davis MP, Minister for Health and Ageing, Mika Kontiainen, the Director of Disease Prevention and Control at AusAID and Dr Wendy Holmes from the Centre for International Health at the Burnet Institute.

World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation in 1948.