Being able to age in an active and healthy way is actually a challenge for everyone, not just an individual person. In addition to administrative actions in the field of public health as a right of every Brazilian citizen, thanks to our Unified Health System (SUS), defined and controlled public policies operate. So this is encouraging. This is because they are necessary to achieve this.
The classification of old age as “old age” attributes the diagnosis of disease to human life. In this way it reinforces stigma and “age discrimination,” which is the anti-aging discrimination. But there are ways to reduce this kind of bias, as recommended by world report on aging. The document, prepared by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), recommends actions for governments, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector.
I am an advocate for the rights of older people, and whenever I can I participate in the cause of aging as a right. As Minister of Health, we have prioritized promoting active, healthy aging in states and municipalities. For example, with the implementation of the Academia da Cidade program to encourage physical activities, focused on healthy well-being. In addition, with the expansion of the People’s Pharmacy Program units, which provided free access to medicines for continued use to the elderly. So is the Mais Médicos Program, which took over medical care and created a bond with this population.
Two important bills are being processed in the National Congress, PL 5.178/20, which establishes and regulates the profession of social caregiver for people, and PL 9.003/17, which regulates the profession of gerontologist. Their consent is necessary to reaffirm the rights of the elderly. We are fighting to get it passed as quickly as possible in both the House and the Senate.
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I’m a member of the House Aged Rights Committee. In this case, we will hold a public hearing on the need for Brazil to accede to and ratify the Inter-American Convention for the Defense of the Rights of the Elderly. Another important initiative that must be ensured is the Ibero-American Association Against Age Discrimination, led and coordinated by Dr. Alexandre Calaci, an epidemiologist who specializes in the study of aging.
For Brazil to reach the goal proposed by the World Health Organization in the General Assembly, which designated the period from 2021 to 2030 as the “Decade of Healthy Aging,” we need positive policies. A focus on nurturing and promoting healthy aging, without stigma or prejudice.
*Alexander Padilla He is a physician, university professor, and federal deputy (PT-SP). He was Minister of Political Coordination of Lula and Health of Dilma and Minister of Health of the Department of Fernando Haddad in the city of São Paulo.
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