"What can we, high school students, do for the ageing world?" Kobe/Hyogo High School Forum: Youth Meeting the World

On 11 February, the WHO Kobe Centre and the G7 Kobe Health Ministers' Meeting Promotion Council, along with the Hyogo Prefectural Board of Education and Osaka University, organized a large meeting of Kobe and Hyogo Prefecture High School students exploring global health: “Kobe/Hyogo Youth Meeting the World” at the Kobe International Exhibition Hall. This event follows up to the 2016 G7 Health Ministers’ meeting held in Kobe. About 600 participated, mainly from high schools in Hyogo prefecture.

In the keynote speeches, Professor Junko Otani of Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University talked about her experiences working in several international agencies in many different parts of the world, and her field work in disaster-struck areas such as the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake, the Great East Japan Earthquake to the Great Sichuan earthquake in 2008. As a message to the students, she emphasized the importance of studying foreign languages. “Not only English but some of the Asian languages will be a great asset; don't be introvert, be an extrovert.”

And Dr Ryoma Kayano, Technical Officer of the WHO Kobe Centre took the podium and explained about WHO and its history of fighting against communicable diseases and public health concerns in the 21st century, such as emerging communicable diseases, global population ageing and the double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases. He also mentioned that “Challenge your limits and widen your horizon when you are young. A bright future is yours.”

Mr Shinjiro Nozaki, External Relations Officer of the WHO Kobe Centre then moderated a Panel Discussion with four high school students, under the theme of “Japan’s future, the ageing society”. Ms Miori Oshima of Hyogo Prefectural Amagasaki-Inazono High School mentioned “The definition of old people in Japan, 65 years old, should be changed and raised now reflecting healthy and active old age”. Mr Keisuke Kanda of Hyogo Prefectural Sumoto High School shared his idea of “Creating a new compact city in an open area in Awaji island with a public transportation network and facilities needed in everyday life, in order to produce more chances of communication and jobs for the older population.”


Ms Mai Tamura of Hyogo Prefectural Tatsuno Senior High School said “Japan should increase the chances of social connections and social participation among older persons and to be a role model to the world showing healthy and active ageing”. Ms Hana Kobayashi of Kobe Municipal Fukiai High School said “Old people contribute to society significantly economically and socially. Their experiences are important to the economy, they can take care of grandchildren whose parents are working, they play an important role in inheritance of tradition and safety and security in the community.”


In the afternoon, lively discussions and presentations took place at the 30 booth exhibitions; at podiums where 13 short lectures on activities by globally active organizations, entities, and universities were delivered; and at 84 poster sessions where students presented their work.

To wrap up the day’s extensive programme, Dr Hisanobu Kakizawa, Associate Professor at Center for Education in Liberal Arts and Sciences of Osaka University, mentioned “There are multiple viable solutions for given questions, and you cannot find one correct answer in the textbook. Trial and error learning method is important.” He encouraged the students to pursue excellence in their future work and careers, and noting they will be the ones to discover new solutions.

Finally, Mr Alex Ross, Director of WHO Kobe Centre, concluded the event saying “We live in a world full of uncertainty, with a lot of new global challenges, new global health issues and global ageing. On the other hand, the world has never been as interconnected as today. You are the future of Japan – please be active globally and locally in order to contribute to the world, and to be a good global citizen.”

Program 1, 2 (Japanese)


"Kobe/Hyogo Youth Meeting the World" - Commemorating the 2016 G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting held in Kobe

The WHO Kobe Centre and the G7 Kobe Health Ministers' Meeting Promotion Council are organizing a large meeting of Kobe and Hyogo Prefecture High School students exploring global health: “Kobe/Hyogo Youth Meeting the World” at the Kobe International Exhibition Hall on February 11, 2017. This event commemorates the 2016 G7 Health Ministers’ meeting held in Kobe.

During the full-day programme, about 500 high school students in Hyogo-Kobe will experience a wide variety of learning opportunities in order to be effective ambassadors and international citizens.

This important gathering continues opportunities for High School students to learn about global health and to become future leaders following from the first Hyogo-Kobe GLOBAL HEALTH High School Summit held in August 2016 organized by the WHO Kobe Centre and the G7 Kobe Health Ministers' Meeting Promotion Council. The Summit was one of the pre-events for the Kobe G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting where high school students discussed how they could contribute to global health and adapted the High School Summit Declaration.

Alex Ross, Director, WKC notes that the “WHO Kobe Centre is a unique global research centre that is leading development of policies and programmes for ageing populations and health systems to achieve universal health coverage. We are connecting the world to Kobe by bringing world class knowledge to Kobe, while disseminating lessons from Kobe to the world. We are delighted to contribute to the education and experience of young students in Hyogo in order for them to be international citizens”

“Kobe/Hyogo Youth Meeting the World”
- Commemorating the 2016 G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting in Kobe

Time: 11 February, 2017 09:30 - 17 : 00 (Opens 09 : 00)
Venue: Hall No.2 Building, Kobe International Exhibition Hall
(〒650-0046 6-11-1 Mintaojima-Nakamachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe 078-302-1020)
Organized by: G7 Kobe Health Ministers’ Meeting Promotion Council, WHO Kobe Centre
Cosponsored by: Hyogo Prefectural Board of Education, Osaka University
Supported by: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, JICA Kansai, Kansai NGO Council, Japan Association for International Health, Kobe City Board of Education
Participants: Students living in Hyogo prefecture. Approx. 500 students (Registrations required)

9:30-9:40 Opening remarks

9:40-10:50 Keynote Speeches
“To be a leader in the international communities- my experiences as an international civil servant and as a researcher”
Junko Otani, Professor, Human Sciences, Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University
“Public Health Concerns in the 21st century – double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases”
Ryoma Kayano, Technical Officer, WHO Kobe Centre

10:50-11:50 Panel Discussion “Japan’s future, the ageing society”
Moderator: Shinjiro Nozaki, External Relations Officer, WHO Kobe Centre
Participants: 4 high school students from Hyogo Prefecture (Hyogo Prefectural Amagasaki-Inazono High School, Sumoto High Shool, Hyogo Prefectural Tatsuno Senior High School, Kobe Municipal Fukiai High School)
Discussion with the Audience.

11:50-14:30 30 Booth Exhibitions and 15 Short Lectures on activities by globally active organizations, entities, and universities:
(Governmental and International Agencies, Embassies and Consulates, NGO, Private Entities, Universities etc…)

14:30-16:40 100 Poster Sessions by high school students

16:40-16:55 Commentary

16:55 Closing remarks
Alex Ross, Director, WHO Kobe Centre

Program 12 (Japanese)

1.17- Kobe reminds us again of the importance of disaster preparedness

On January 17, the local and international community commemorated the 22nd anniversary of the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake in 1995. Kobe/Hyogo demonstrated to the world how to recover and rebuild with vitality after a disaster using the concept of “creative reconstruction”.

The annual ceremony was held in HAT Kobe where international agencies and national/local institutes for disaster management and preparedness are concentrated and create a global information and innovation hub:  WHO Kobe Centre, UNISDR, UNOCHA, International Recovery Platform, Disaster Reduction Institute, Hyogo Earthquake Memorial 21st Century Research Institute and others.

The WKC Director, Alex Ross, attended the ceremony representing WHO paying respect. WKC was established in 1995 as one of the symbols of Kobe/Hyogo’s creative reconstruction. Mr Ross noted “The efforts of Kobe and Hyogo constantly remind us of the need to be prepared for disasters and emergencies, and the essential role of engaging communities.”


Assessing the Age-friendliness of Cities: A Guide to Core Indicators

The WHO Kobe Centre has just published a new guide on the use of core indicators for assessing the age-friendliness of cities. It is available in English, and in Chinese, French and Spanish translated versions.

The recently released WHO World Report on Ageing and Health argues that the creation of age-friendly environments is essential to enable healthy ageing. This guide provides a framework and offers guidance and inspiration to all cities and communities to create and manage age-friendly environments and to develop an evidence base of their impact.

The WHO Kobe Centre developed this technical guidance in cooperation with the WHO Department of Ageing and Life Course, with inputs from a wide-ranging group of international experts, national and local governments, and community representatives, including older persons themselves.

Measuring the age-friendliness of cities: a guide to using core indicators. Kobe: World Health Organization; 2015

WHO's Year in Review for 2016

2016 has been a turbulent year, in which WHO has tackled disease outbreaks and humanitarian crises and championed efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance and move towards universal health coverage. It has helped countries eliminate infectious diseases and implement programmes to beat cancer, diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases.

It was also a special year for Japan and its leadership on global health, and for WKC. The G7 Ise-Shima Summit and Vision for Global Health; the G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting in Kobe; and the sixth TICAD meeting in Africa all provided momentum for UHC, for paying special attention to the needs of ageing populations, and for ensuring global health security. WKC launched its new 10 year strategy (2016-2026), major new research, and organized key WHO-MHLW side meetings to the G7 Health Ministers meeting and for the G7 Summit preparation.

Dr Halfdan T. Mahler, WHO’s third Director-General, dies at 93

WHO is saddened by the death of Dr Halfdan T. Mahler on 14 December 2016. Dr Mahler served as Director-General of WHO from 1973-1988.

As WHO's third Director-General, Dr Mahler will be remembered as a champion for primary care. He played a key leadership role shaping the 1978 Alma Ata Declaration that defined the Health for All by the Year 2000 strategy. Under his leadership, WHO and UNICEF jointly produced the report, Alternative Approaches to Meeting Basic Health Needs in Developing Countries, which examined successful primary health care in various countries.

After retiring from WHO in 1988, Dr Mahler directed the International Planned Parenthood Federation until 1995. Even after his retirement from WHO, Dr Mahler cheered the Organization’s progress as it expanded its work in primary care. He will be deeply missed by the global health community.

Act with Ambition: Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day 2016

UHC means that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. On 12 December 2016, for the UHC Day, WHO and partners will demand political action from leaders to invest in policies and health systems that reach every person and community based on need, and not ability to pay.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week

This year, World Antibiotic Awareness Week will be held from 14 to 20 November 2016. The campaign aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers, policy-makers and the agriculture sector to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

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Research on community-based social innovations for healthy ageing: Call for Expression of Interest

The WHO Kobe Centre (WKC) has launched a research project on community-based social innovations for healthy ageing (CBSI).

Partnering with RAND Europe, this new research aims at improving health and well-being among older people at a community level, and to guide development and implementation of various models of community-based care and support services. These are needed as many countries and communities have not yet fully planned to deliver comprehensive health/social services in support of rapidly ageing populations.

See the Call for Expression of Interest (EOI) for interested organizations to propose CBSI case study sites. Deadline for EOI submission is 31 December 2016.

The study will investigate a) health/social delivery innovations implemented in a community that emphasize active engagement of older people, b) interventions that aim to assist older persons to increase autonomy and to maintain or enhance their health and quality-of-life for as long as possible, and c) examine their effectiveness and integration/coordination with the wide health care system.

WHO and RAND Europe will conduct a systematic review and case studies of up to ten middle-income countries across the world. Primary data collection in selected case studies will provide evidence about CBSIs, including how they operate, link to other health and social care services, and what benefits they bring for participants.

Anticipated research results include: creating a typology of CBSIs and policy options/briefs to inform country policy and planning to ensure greater sustainability and integration of services, in the context of universal health coverage.

“The WHO Kobe Centre’s leading research on innovations in community models of care and support for older populations is instrumental to help countries design and plan their programmes to attain universal health coverage, and to implement key actions called for in the 2016 G7 Health Ministers’ meeting communique,” said Alex Ross, Director of the WHO Kobe Centre. He further noted that “this research is being implemented with many WHO departments and offices across the world, and is grounded on the WHO World Report on Ageing and Health and WKC’s new ten-year strategy on UHC, innovation and ageing.”

WKC and RAND Europe are now inviting all interested parties to suggest case study sites on community-based social innovations (CBSIs) that support older people in middle-income countries (MICs).

Additional Information:

  • Submission deadline for the Expression of Interest (EOI) is 31 December 2016. Selection of case studies will be done by January/February 2017.
  • The entire project is scheduled to continue until November 2017.
  • This project is based on initial WKC research on CBSIs in predominantly low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in 2015.

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Developing the new International Classification of Diseases (ICD), 11th Edition

Japan hosted two major meetings in Tokyo on 12 to 15 October 2016: a) Tokyo conference on the 11th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, or ICD-11, and b) a meeting of the WHO Family of International Classifications (WHO-FIC) Network. At the ICD 11 Revision Conference, the Director, WHO Kobe Centre, presented on strategies to increase the integration of the International Classification of Functioning (ICF) with the ICD 11, as well as with other indicator sets, to help monitor the functioning and health status of older persons.

The WHO Director-General addressed the Conference noting its importance and that “this is an historical occasion and an historical opportunity to give the medical, epidemiological, and public health communities a cutting-edge statistical tool. Specific, precise, and comparable data are the foundation of everything we do”

The importance of the ICD11 and International Classifications

The ICD has existed for 100-years as a standard statistical instrument, that contains many standard definitions for diseases and codes. The ICD is instrumental to support countries, as the coding is used as the basis for national civil and vital statistics registration, and health information systems. The ICD 11 will be necessary for countries to be able to gather high-quality, specific, and comparable statistical data, and cause-specific mortality data (which are used by countries to track SDG targets and indicators). It is also needed for electronic health records; statistical purposes (it groups together medical terms reported by physicians, medical examiners, and coroners on death certificates); and serves as the international standard diagnostic classification for all general epidemiological and many health management purposes, including reimbursements by governments and insurers.

Until now, classifications and indicators for monitoring the functioning of older persons and persons with disabilities have been missing. The ICF has not been used extensively. Many countries are also concerned about not having the capacity to implement various standards and indicators, for which there are many.

The Director, WHO Kobe Centre, outlined a number of key issues and recommendations that can help align various indicators and standards, particularly focusing on functional status. The further development of the ICD 11 is led by WHOs Department of Information, Evidence and Research (IER). Within WHO, WKC is collaborating with the IER Department, the Blindness, Deafness Prevention, Disability and Rehabilitation Team in the Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster, and the Ageing and Life Course Department on ways to better define indicators for ageing populations, universal health coverage (UHC), age and dementia friendly initiatives, and related metrics.

YouTube: The ICD
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