October 1 marks UN International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities of ageing populations around the world
Qatar International Geriatric and Gerontology Conference held from 30 September to 2 October
Doha, 2 October 2021: On October 1, countries around the world, including Qatar, marked the 31st anniversary of the UN International Day of Older Persons (IDOP). Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) took the opportunity to celebrate IDOP during a key educational event, the Qatar International Geriatrics and Gerontology Conference. The international conference, which focused on the health and healthcare needs of older persons, provided an ideal platform to highlight the success of the Healthy Ageing Strategy.
The three-day virtual conference concluded successfully on Saturday with more than 1500 delegates from many healthcare disciplines, united by a desire to learn more about geriatric syndromes and applied gerontology to better understand the ageing process.
Dr. Hanadi Al-Hamad, NHS 2 National Lead for Healthy Ageing and Focal Point for Elderly in Qatar, said that Qatar is one of the leading countries in the Arab world to have acknowledged and analyzed the need for addressing the health needs of older persons. “Qatar’s older population is growing exponentially, and while it is a real achievement in that life expectancy is growing (for Qataris it is now around 80 years), we also find that around 80% of our older population are living with three or more chronic health conditions that need medical attention and healthcare support”.
The UN stated that globally the number of older persons worldwide is projected to more than double over the next three decades, reaching more than 1.5 billion persons in 2050. Qatar’s population aged 65 and over amounted to less than 1% of the total population in 2010 but is close to 2% currently and the number of older people in Qatar is expected to grow by 300% between now and 2050. The demand for age-related healthcare services has increased significantly as a result.
The UN established the International Day of Older Persons to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities of ageing populations around the world. In recognition of the need for addressing the growing healthcare needs of our older population, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health, included ’Healthy Ageing’ as one of the priority population areas in the National Health Strategy 2018 – 2022. The strategic plans for ‘Healthy Ageing’ aim at improving coordination and integration of care for the elderly population to enhance their active life years and enable them to remain more independent at home for longer.
Dr. Al-Hamad, who is also the Medical Director of Rumaila Hospital and Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, and the Chairperson of the Department of Geriatrics and Long-Term Care at HMC, stated that Qatar’s efforts concerning the care of its older population reflects the purpose of the IDOP. “We have a strategic plan to enhance the healthcare services that are designed to improve the lives of adults as they progress through adulthood and into older age. This includes expanding existing services while also developing new age-appropriate services and enhancing integrated holistic care to address the varied challenges that people pay face as they age.”
“We have come a long way in the last decade, and our success to date has been underpinned by the strong support we received specifically from our Minister of Public Health, HE Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, and the wider Public Health Ministry. Our efforts now are focused on working together with our partners, other ministries and policy makers, towards developing embarking on the next phase of our long-term plan to develop a truly old-age-friendly environment in Qatar,” added Dr. Al-Hamad.
The United Nations International Day of Older Persons 2021 theme “Digital Equity for All Ages” predicates the need for access and meaningful participation in the digital world by older persons.