On October 14, 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Geriatric Medicine Society (EuGMS) formalized a significant collaboration by signing a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This partnership aims to enhance the quality of care for healthy aging, emphasizing the need to reorient health and social care services to meet the demands of an aging population.
Objectives of the EuGMS
The EuGMS, a non-profit international association, is dedicated to promoting cooperation and coordination among 39 national geriatric medical societies throughout Europe. The primary objectives of the EuGMS include:
- Developing geriatric medicine as an independent specialty focused on addressing age-related diseases in older individuals.
- Ensuring that these specialized services are accessible to all European citizens.
- Advocating for the creation of healthcare services suitable for an aging demographic.
- Promoting education and continuous professional development in the field of geriatric medicine.
- Collaborating with the Section of Geriatric Medicine of the European Union of Medical Specialists to advocate for geriatric medicine within the European Commission and Parliament.
- Promoting evidence-based consensus on the most effective preventive and treatment strategies for older people in Europe.
The Ultimate Goal Behind the Memorandum
This memorandum signifies a commitment by the WHO and EuGMS to raise awareness regarding the vital need for health and social care services to adapt to the unique requirements of the aging population. The ultimate goal is to establish a continuum of high-quality, integrated health and long-term care that is essential for promoting healthy aging. Additionally, the partners will collaborate to enhance the skills and knowledge of healthcare providers, aligning their practices with the principles of geriatric medicine and the WHO Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE) approach.
Through this collaborative effort, the WHO will strengthen its ties with numerous geriatrics and gerontology societies operating across the European region. The EuGMS will serve as a valuable partner, providing insights into the state of care for older individuals in multiple countries while actively supporting the advancement and dissemination of improved care for healthy aging.
The signing of this MoU is significant, taking place after the first three-year period of the United Nations (UN) Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030). This global initiative, coordinated by the WHO, seeks to transform the world into a more age-friendly place by engaging governments, civil society, international organizations, professionals, academic institutions, the media, and the private sector. Its overarching aim is to enhance the quality of life for older individuals and ensure that they can age healthily and gracefully.
This partnership between the WHO and EuGMS signifies a commitment to the cause of healthy aging and marks a significant step forward in the collective efforts to address the unique healthcare needs of older individuals in Europe and beyond. As the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing continues to unfold, the collaboration between these two organizations is expected to yield invaluable insights and innovations, ultimately enhancing the quality of care for older individuals and promoting the principles of geriatric medicine on a global scale.