A man holding a young child in Pakistan

In almost every country, the proportion of people aged over 60 years is growing faster than any other age group, as a result of both longer life expectancy and declining fertility rates. This population ageing can be seen as a success story for public health policies and for socioeconomic development, but it also challenges society to adapt, in order to maximize the health and functional capacity of older people as well as their social participation and security.

The Centre works closely with colleagues from around the world to conduct research on age-friendly environments, including the development of indicators for age-friendly cities. Taking advantage of its location in Japan, the Centre draws upon the specific expertise and experience of Japan. In collaboration with Japanese researchers the Centre is conducting research on identifying interventions and policies that can add healthy years to life.


Research on community-based social innovations for healthy ageing (CBSI)


The WHO Kobe Centre (WKC) has launched a research project on community-based social innovations for healthy ageing (CBSI). Partnering with RAND Europe, this new research aims at improving health and well-being among older people at a community level, and to guide development and implementation of various models of community-based care and support services. These are needed as many countries and communities have not yet fully planned to deliver comprehensive health/social services in support of rapidly ageing populations. Emphasis is being given to middle and high income countries.

Research on improving measurement, research and knowledge translation to promote universal health coverage and healthy ageing in Japan

The WHO Kobe Centre (WKC) will initiate a research project in 2017 to address one of the strategic objectives of the new WHO global strategy and action plan on ageing and health: Improving measurement, monitoring and research on Healthy Ageing. The research will focus on Japan, a country which has made remarkable achievements in longevity, but which also faces challenges to ensure equity, sustainability and effectiveness of its universally available health and long term care. WKC seeks to study current initiatives in Japan to improve the measurement of ageing, health and equity; how that is contributing to the generation of new evidence; and how the outputs are being applied to policy and programmatic decisions. The aim of the research is to synthesize the knowledge and experience from Japan into a framework for improving measurement, research and knowledge translation for healthy ageing and universal health coverage (UHC) which could both bring clarity to the current state of the art in Japan as well as lead to adaption and use elsewhere. This framework can help fill the critical gap in knowledge about the implementation processes that local governments and countries may need to undertake when they adopt the goals of UHC and the global strategy and action plan on ageing and health.