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AFAR in the News: Nir Barzilai, Stephanie Lederman, and S. Jay Olshansky in Aging and Disease journal on why aging health should be in the WHO Work Program

May 14
2018

AFAR in the News: Nir Barzilai, Stephanie Lederman, and S. Jay Olshansky in Aging and Disease journal on why aging health should be in the WHO Work Program View MoreBACK

In the April 2018 Issue, Aging and Disease published an editorial co-authored by AFAR Deputy Scientific Director, 1997 Beeson Scholar and 1994 AFAR Research Grant recipient, Nir Barzilai, M.D.; AFAR Executive Director Stephanie Lederman, Ed.M.; and AFAR Board member S. Jay Olshansky, Ph.D.

Aging Health and R & D for Healthy Longevity Must Be Included into the WHO Work Program” highlights the urgency of the public health issues of aging populations and how the public health issue will increase as life expectancy increases. 

Based on these statistics, the authors argue that aging health should be included in the 13th General Programme of Work of the World Health Organization for 2019-2023 and state:

“In view of the urgency of the problem, it seems highly surprising that in the forthcoming draft 13th General Programme of Work of the World Health Organization for 2019-2023 – the issue of aging and aging-related ill health is excluded completely! Besides a cursory mention of the word “aging,” this work program does not contain any specific objectives, deliverables and actions to improve the health of the aged. This means that, through 2023, according to this document, the World Health Organization is not obliged to provide any services to care for the health of older persons or to improve their health, not to mention conduct any research and development to create new therapies and technologies for improving the health of the aged.”

The article later lays out the consequences of excluding aging related public health issues. “First and foremost, it will signal to governments, in particular in developing countries, that aging health is not an important priority to be addressed with urgency. Practically, this attitude could result in many existing and future health care and health research programs on aging being eliminated.”

In the past, the article notes, only a very small portion of the WHO budget was designated to aging-related programs. As aging health is excluded in the current work plan, the authors ask: “will the ‘Ageing and Health’ programs, and other ageing-related programs (both care and R&D) receive no funding and support whatsoever?”

The authors encourage WHO to include aging health in its work program and for readers to advocate for more “R & D for health longevity, as a priority in the WHO work program.”

Read the full article here.


Nir Barzilai, M.D. is the Director of the Institute for Aging Research and the Director of the Nathan Shock Centers of Excellence in the Biology of Aging at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Stephanie Lederman, Ed.M. is the Executive Director at AFAR.

S. Jay Olshansky, Ph.D. is a Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago.





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