It's World Health Day - Ageing & Health
Every year, World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. World Health Day is a global campaign, inviting everyone – from global leaders to the public in all countries – to focus on a single health challenge with global impact. Focusing on new and emerging health issues, World Health Day provides an opportunity to start collective action to protect people’s health and well-being. It is an opportunity to engage in finding solutions that benefit us all.
The topic of World Health Day in 2012 is Ageing and Health, with the theme “Good health adds life to years”. The focus is how good health throughout life can help older men and women lead full and productive lives and be a resource for their families and communities. Ageing concerns each and every one of us – whether young or old, male or female, rich or poor – no matter where we live.
Population ageing is a global phenomenon that is both inevitable and predictable. It will change society at many levels and in complex ways, creating both challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, older people already make a significant contribution to society, whether it is through the formal workforce, through informal work and volunteering or within the family. We can foster this contribution by helping them maintain good health and by breaking down the many barriers that prevent their ongoing participation in society. On the other hand, towards the end of life, many older people will face health problems and challenges to their ability to remain independent. We need to address these too, and do it in a way that is affordable and sustainable for families and society.
Good health must lie at the core of any successful response to ageing. If we can ensure that people are living healthier as well as longer lives, the opportunities will be greater and the costs to society less. This great demographic challenge of the first half of the 21st century therefore demands a public health response.