2 bn old people, “major public health challenge” for developing countries

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An elderly woman at her window in a Nepalese village. UN Photo/John Isaac

The wellbeing of over 2 billion people over the age of 60 who will be living in developing countries in the next four decades is going to be a major public health challenge, according to a paper published in The Lancet Medical Journal on Thursday.

It says that "ageing well" must be a global priority as people now live longer, thanks to improved health technologies.

The World Health Organization's Dr Somnath Chatterji, who is one of the authors says there's a misconception that the health issues of the elderly are problems faced only by rich countries.

"A majority of older adults already live in low-middle income countries and, in fact, over the course of the next four decades we have two billion people over the age of sixty who are going to be living in what are currently developing countries. So the health of this population is actually very critical for us to think about as the next public health challenge."

Dr. Chatterji adds, there are interventions which can improve the health of older adults but society needs to make the necessary investments.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations

Duration: 1’09″

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