In November 2017, it was brought to our attention that the World Health Organization (WHO) had omitted ageing from its draft 13th General Programme of Work 2019-2023 (GPW13). This was in stark contrast to the previous programme, adopted in 2013, which specifically identified the ageing population and stressed the importance of maintaining a focus on health across the whole life-course.
Advocates and experts from around the world were concerned that the absence of ageing in the draft GPW13 would rollback the progress that has been made in recent years. Organizations and individuals who shared this concern were encouraged to provide their input directly to the WHO. After the consultation period ended, the WHO's Executive Board considered the draft GPW13 at a special session on November 22-23, 2017.
The WHO received over 400 submissions from non-state actors, including the Dementia Justice Society of Canada. According to the WHO, 90% of responses raised the concern that ageing was not emphasized in its draft plan.
In response to the united call for the inclusion of ageing, the WHO added a new global target: reduce the number of older adults who are care dependent by 15 million (from 180 million in 2017 to 165 million in 2023).
The WHO's Executive Board will further consider the draft GPW13 in January 2018.
Dementia Justice applauds the WHO for taking action, and we thank the International Federation on Ageing, the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People, and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse for bringing the concern to our attention.
More information is available on the WHO website.