Respect for Aged Day - Director's message

Picture of Dr Sarah Louise Barber - Director WKC

Today, 19 September 2022, Japan celebrates “Respect for the Aged Day”. The Day honors and appreciates the contributions senior citizens have made to society. The WHO Centre for Health Development in Kobe (WHO Kobe Centre or WKC) is proud to be associated with this national day through Hyogo Prefecture, the origin of this honourable tradition and one of our key benefactors along with Kobe City.

Japan is world famous for its very high population of centenarians – people who are over one hundred years old. We honor them and all older people who contribute so much to our community.

Most countries in the world now face a similar challenge as Japan – a emergent older population that require integrated health and social systems that are prepared to respond to their changing needs. Integrated long-term care is essential for older persons’ wellbeing; yet, formal long-term care systems are far less developed in most countries compared to health care systems.

At WKC, we work with partners across the globe and in the Kansai region of Japan to identify factors that affect equitable access to health and social care services for older people. We draw on lessons from the Kansai region of Japan and the Asia Pacific Region more widely to inform global policy development and help national authorities to take appropriate action to address the inequities that older people face in accessing needed care. For example, as the world moves to accelerate access to Universal Health Care (UHC), WKC is advocating for monitoring frameworks and metrics that measure how well health systems are adapting to the complex health needs of older persons. For more information about our mission, read further here.