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Older people’s association model in linking with health and care systems in Bangladesh

To improve the well-being of older people in Asia, HelpAge International are piloting an older people’s association model in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Indonesia. This research aimed to identify strategies for appropriate integration of health and care activities of older people’s associations (OPAs) into health and social welfare systems in Bangladesh. Using secondary data sources, phase one of this research identified that Bangladesh is experiencing an ageing population. Data also shows that older people experience an increased burden from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). High rates of disability are observed among older people in Bangladesh, with observational studies revealing common issues with eyesight, mobility and self-care. Bangladesh’s health system is highly centralised, with common problems including poor service quality and high out of-pocket payments representing barriers towards universal health coverage. The private sector and nongovernment organisations are key actors in the health system in Bangladesh, making up a sizeable portion of this country's total health care. Using focus group discussions and key informant interviews with OPAs stakeholders in Bangladesh, phase two of this research identified that OPAs addressed their member’s health concerns through health promotion activities focused on increasing physical activity and social engagement, providing homecare and transportation assistance, and health check-ups and referrals. Some of these activities were conducted in collaboration with NGOs and health authorities, revealing a useful model for linking OPAs with the health system. OPAs also successfully advocated health clinics to provide special facilities and systems for older people, which could be scaled up across the health system. However, lack of financial and social support continues to be an issue for Bangladesh’s ageing population, with OPAs and stakeholders calling on the government to increase implementation of current policies to address this issue. These findings demonstrate that OPAs could be an appropriate model for addressing older people's health concerns in Bangladesh and other low-income countries in Asia

Help Age International
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