Our world is growing older. By 2050, the world’s population of people aged 60 years and older is expected to double (2.1 billion). The number of persons aged 80 years or older is expected to triple between 2020 and 2050, reaching 426 million. All countries, even developing ones (though they do have some time before they catch up as they are still relatively ‘young’) must be prepared to deal with an ageing population.

The Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) has launched a programme to prepare healthcare professionals for exactly this purpose. The online course, “E-Coordinators for Healthy Ageing Care,” launched with the help of EDUCAST, a digital health platform, will help people enhance the quality of life of an older person.

“Globally, the life expectancy of human beings has increased significantly in the last few decades,” said head of the initiative Prof Jehan Ara Hasan while addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club.

“Whereas a few people survived beyond the age of 60 in the 1960s, today there are more than one billion people who are older than 60 years,” she added while pointing out that many lived in developing countries, where they may not have access to basic necessities of life in “an environment of respect and dignity.”

The United Nations has declared the decade from 2021 to 2030 as the ‘decade of healthy ageing.’ Pakistan, with an average life expectancy of 67.8 years and about 15 million people over age 60, is one of the signatories of the UN Social Development Goals (SDGs). According to Prof Jehan Ara the country is “committed to achieve the goal of universal health which includes health for its ageing population too.”

The three-month online course would be offered free of cost to the public to increase their awareness about how to take care of the needs of the elderly. “The only requirement for participation is ability to read and write English language and to operate a smartphone,” the Professor added.

The country, which currently has no established system of providing care for the elderly such as assisted living facilities or nursing homes, certainly needs to amp up resources for elderly care if they want to cater to the needs of its aging population.

From : pk.mashable.com

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