Last century celebrated numerous medical advances and public health measures that extended life expectancy across the globe. However, health risks are unequally distributed between and within countries. Women and children are particularly vulnerable as women around the world lack access to contraceptives, prenatal and antenatal care and 5 million children under the age of five die annually. Other issues including communicable diseases (e.g. HIV/AIDS, malaria), “lifestyle” diseases (e.g. cardiovascular illness, diabetes), environmental illnesses (e.g. respiratory, diarrheal illnesses), cancer, and mental health issues disproportionately affect low-income communities worldwide. In many countries, populations will require more resources as they age. Those in need are often not able to access care either due to lack of facilities or cost. The goal of this case is to promote health and wellbeing for current and future generations around the globe.
Challenge: Aging with Dignity
Many middle- and high-income countries are facing a population dilemma: smaller population may be necessary to avert environmental crisis, but aging population creates a difficult demographic transition. In 2050, the population over 60 years of age could reach 2.1 billion. Due to major medical advances people live longer, but that does not always mean that they live better. With advancing age, people face numerous issues including decreased productivity, limited access to resources and decision-making, and access to appropriate health care. This challenge therefore addresses issues associated with a demographic transition and promotes aging with dignity.