HelpAge International

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Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
- Primary health care towards universal health coverage

I thank the chair for giving HelpAge International the opportunity to make this statement.

HelpAge is supportive of the primary health care approach outlined in the WHO's Report and its emphasis on meeting people’s health needs through comprehensive and integrated health and care services throughout the life course; systematically addressing the broader determinants of health; and empowering individuals, families and communities as co-developers of health and social services and as self-carers and caregivers.

UHC provides a critical opportunity to strengthen and re-orientate health and care systems, including primary health care, to meet the needs of a dramatically ageing world made up of increasing numbers of older people with a higher prevalence of chronic conditions and complex needs. To meet the diverse health and care needs of older people it is essential to develop models of primary health care that are holistic and people-centred, whilst addressing the specific barriers older people face in accessing services, including physical access, health worker attitudes and competencies, and access to relevant information. Essential health service packages must include those most needed to meet the health and care challenges common in older age.

Broader UHC models must also close gaps in health insurance coverage and other support schemes to ensure access and affordability. In addition, in order to monitor people’s access to services, upper age caps must be removed from data sources underpinning efforts to monitor UHC.

HelpAge remains committed to supporting WHO and Member States to continue the progress made on ageing and health in recent years. We look forward to working with you, including through the Decade of Healthy Ageing, to ensure that older people have a voice within progress towards achieving UHC. Thank you.