Eswatini Daily News

By Phephile Motau

Innovations that could be developed through a new research programme may raise the life expectancy of people living in sub-Saharan Africa in line with global norms.

According to It Online, the new research programme will encompass an “Ageing Check-up” run by community nurses and therapists for use in the region and, led by researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK and will analyse data from 5 030 older adults living in Zimbabwe, The Gambia, and South Africa.

This will help them to understand how common people are ageing healthily – and unhealthily – and how this influences the quality of life.

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According to the online publication, led by Celia Gregson, professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Bristol and The Health Research Unit Zimbabwe (THRU-ZIM), the five-year programme – Healthy ageing in sub-Saharan Africa – will develop an evidence-based clinical framework to assess and manage chronic disorders of ageing such as walking, balance, nutrition, memory, mood, eyesight, and hearing.

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The team will work with a range of stakeholders including healthcare experts and older people themselves to develop a health check-up for people over 65 years old. The check-up will be trialled in Zimbabwe to assess the feasibility, acceptability, effectiveness, and costs of implementing community-based health checks.

It was reported that towards the end of the research programme, a set of tools will be developed to guide the person-centred assessment and management of older people, ready for scale-up across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Known health problems in the region, including Zimbabwe, include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, back and joint pain, depression and anxiety, HIV, uncorrected vision and hearing impairments, malnutrition – including obesity, and undiagnosed memory decline.

During the £2-million study, the Bristol-Zimbabwe collaborative research team will grow a highly skilled and experienced Global Health and Ageing Research team which will work within a newly-launched Global Health and Ageing Research Unit to ensure there is a positive impact on older people’s health for many years to come.

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