I thank the chair for giving HelpAge International the opportunity to make this statement.
The Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 3.8 on Universal Health Coverage, offer a critical opportunity to meet the right of all people to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, irrespective of age, gender, disability, or other status. Being able to measure progress for all people, irrespective of age and including the most disadvantaged, is fundamental to the commitment to leave no one behind. However, current measures of UHC such as the UHC index and financial protection indicators don’t effectively measure older people’s access to financial support and health services, or inequalities within the population, as the index includes age-standardized indicators, lacks indicators of cognitive health, and financial protection indicators are calculated at a household level.
HelpAge International welcomes WHO’s initiative to develop an impact framework to monitor UHC across the life course as part of the 13th General Programme of Work (GPW13) for 2019-2023. Alongside age inclusive data collection and adequate age disaggregation across the range of other tracer interventions to be measured, collecting this data would be a positive step in ensuring better measurement of the inclusion of older people in efforts towards UHC. These potential changes by WHO would also provide an opportunity to make progress with the SDG indicator 3.8.1 through similar additions. However, it is not clear how this will translate into national plans and how quickly.
We call on WHO and Member States to ensure older people and ageing are recognised, counted and included in measuring progress towards achievement of the SDGs and UHC.
HelpAge remains committed to supporting WHO and Member States on this critical issue. Thank you.