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Healthy ageing population essential - Prof. Wijeratne

Health and nutrition from womb to tomb ensures healthy ageing, said Colombo University Professor in Reproductive Medicine Chandrika Wijeratne

Prof. Wijeratne was addressing the media at the Sri Lanka Medical Association yesterday.

Prof. Wijeratne said Sri Lanka has one of the fastest ageing populations in the world. So, it is necessary to produce a healthy ageing population to overcome future challenges.

"Healthy ageing begins in the womb. Low weight births are the main cause for health problems due to ageing. Non Communicable Diseases have become major health problem among the ageing population. So low weight births lead to Non Communicable Diseases." she said.

Health Ministry Consultant Community Physician Shiromi Maduwage said the world population is rapidly ageing. Between 2000-2050, the world's population over 60 will double from 11 percent to 22 percent.

"The proportion of elderly people in Sri Lanka is expected to double from 2001 to 2031 from 9.2 percent to 20.7 percent," she said. She also said healthy ageing population is essential for the development of the country. Both the government and the community have a big responsibility to ensure better health facilities and create good environment for them. Community based care for elders helps promote health. Good nutrition throughout life is essential to a healthy ageing population. It is also important to create age friendly environments that foster health and have the participation of elderly people.

"High incidence and prevalence of Non Communicable Diseases, the number of people living with disability is increasing, the need for long term care is rising, lack of mental well being, and emergency situations make older people more vulnerable." she said.

She said the Health Ministry in collaboration with government and non government institutions have taken measures to extend short term, mid term and long term services to ensure healthy ageing.

The Health Ministry has established special units for stroke, spinal cord injury units. The ministry also plans to establish geriatric units.

The Ministry also plans to establish district rehabilitation teams.

"Sri Lanka has a special tool to create healthy ageing and that is the bond between generations, "said Consultant Physician Dilhara Samaraweera.

National Cancer Control Programme Consultant Community Physician Chiranthika Vithana also addressed the occasion.

 

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