Healthy ageing population essential - Prof. Wijeratne
Health and nutrition from womb to tomb ensures healthy ageing, said
Colombo University Professor in Reproductive Medicine Chandrika
Prof. Wijeratne was addressing the media at the Sri Lanka Medical
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
National Cancer Control Programme Consultant Community Physician
Chiranthika Vithana also addressed the occasion.