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Poor Countries Must Adapt Health Systems To Meet Chronic Care Needs Of Aging Population, WHO Says

“Health systems, particularly in poorer countries, need to adapt to meet the chronic care needs of older people as the shift to aging populations gathers pace in low- and middle-income countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said” Wednesday in a briefing paper to mark World Health Day, observed on Saturday, the Guardian reports. The agency “points out that developing countries will have less time than wealthy nations to adapt to the challenges of an aging population — generally defined as people over 60,” the news service writes, adding, “By 2050, 80 percent of older people will live in low- and middle-income countries.”

“The main health challenges for older people are non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, visual impairment, hearing loss, and dementia, but current health systems in poorer countries are not designed to meet such chronic care needs,” according to the news service. “In a letter [.pdf] to the Lancet, Dr. Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, from the school of international development, University of East Anglia, and others say substantial improvements in health can be achieved with relatively cheap and simple interventions, such as the effective management of hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles, in particular regular physical activity,” the Guardian writes (Tran, 4/4).