The actions, taking place on this World Health Day are part of HelpAge International’s annual Age Demands Action campaigns led by older activists from across the world to draw attention to the challenges they face.
According to HelpAge International Tanzania Country Director, Ms Amleset Tewodros, without diagnosis, care and treatment, older men and women with diabetes are more at risk of developing complications and other non-communicable diseases than younger people.Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Ms Tewodros said this year’s theme stated that: “Beat Diabetes: Scale up Prevention, Strengthen Care and Enhance Surveillance.”
Diabetes is one of the four major non-communicable diseases (NCDs), along with cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and chronic respiratory disease. Prevalence of diabetes increases with age in many countries.
She noted that around 9 per cent of the world’s adult population are thought to have diabetes and according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it will be the seventh leading cause of death globally by 2030.
Older people are calling for increased attention to ensure older men and women access regular preventative and curative affordable services as provided by the free health care policy so that preventable and manageable chronic conditions such as diabetics do not become debilitating diseases.
The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted at the UN last September, commit member states to ‘ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’ and include a target on reducing mortality from NCDs.
However, the extent to which older people are affected is still unclear due to poor collection, analysis and presentation of data. “Much of the data on diabetes either ignores older people or doesn’t disaggregate by age”, said Toby Porter, Chief Executive Officer at HelpAge International.
“For countries to monitor the progress of these commitments they need to gather comprehensive data on diabetes and other non-communicable diseases for people of all ages and to disaggregate this data by age and sex at a minimum,” Toby said.
In the past years, HelpAge International has been working in three districts to prevent and promote Non-Communicable Diseases through community based actions.