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NCDs the leading cause of death among the elderly says report

The number of deaths attributable to Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the country is on the rise.

Most of the deaths occur among the elderly persons due to the lack of adequate plans to safeguard their health rights.

According to the ministry of health, NCDs are responsible for more than 55% of deaths in the country, accounting for more than half of the admissions.

Helpage International Country Programme Coordinator Erastus Maina during the launch of a report dubbed “Global Age Watch Report”, said health systems need to adapt to ensure older women and men realize their right to health.

“The inadequate response to older people’s health care needs by health care systems is driven, in part, by a lack of data on older people’s health needs and we need to address all the diseases without isolation,” he said.

Maina noted that HelpAge has been supporting the government to carry out better health programmes for older people such as health systems strengthening delivered primarily through training of health workers and curriculum development, building on existing experience while addressing some of the other key WHO building blocks.

The report launched on Friday in Nairobi was globally launched on Wednesday 12th during the Universal Health Coverage Day and focused on older people’s right to health.

In addition to the global analysis, the report explores national trends on older people’s health status in 12 countries, including Kenya.

It probes how health systems could be reformed to better respond to shifting disease patterns, and ensure the availability, accessibility and quality of health services for older people and how Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development can help to realize older persons’ right to health.
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Justin Derbyshire, Chief Executive Officer of HelpAge International said it was of importance to safeguard the rights of older people’s health without discrimination for their wellbeing.

“This year, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the founding of the World Health Organization, it is significant that older people are being left out. Older people have the right to health, but they are not being counted in key data, and health services are not being adapted to meet their needs”, he noted.

Derbyshire said that health systems in low and middle-income countries are facing severe challenges, but the global drive towards universal health coverage is an opportunity to strengthen these and ensure healthy lives and wellbeing for all ages.

According to the report NCD accounts for 74.8 percent of the total years lived with disability in Kenya in 2015 with similar patterns for men and women.

For men aged 50-69, the rate varied over the period between 76 and 80 percent while for men aged 70 and over it varied between 82 and 84 percent.

For women aged 50 – 69, the proportion ranged between 78 and 82 percent and for women aged 70 and over, between 84 and 85 percent over the 25 years.
By Wangari Ndirangu

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