Since 2011, the WHO Kobe Centre (WKC) has been collaborating with the Centre for Well-being and Society of Nihon Fukushi University in Nagoya, Japan, to improve metrics for evidence-based policy-making on ageing and health in Japan.

The Centre for Well-being and Society received funding from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan, to develop a benchmark system to evaluate the long-term care insurance policy which has been in effect since 2000. WKC is providing technical assistance to this effort, especially to develop a tool for policy makers in Japan to assess and respond to health inequities among the older population which would be harmonized with WHO’s Urban Health Equity Assessment and Response Tool (Urban HEART).

The development of the benchmark system utilizes data from the Aichi Gerontological Evaluation Study (AGES), which began in 1999, and the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES). Thirty-one municipalities from all over Japan participated in the 2010/11 JAGES survey, providing information on the social and health status of over 100,000 older adults. The survey sample is designed to allow for sub-city analysis of health inequalities.

Of special note is that major cities like Kobe and Nagoya were added to the 2010/11 survey. This shows the cities’ commitment to use sound evidence to inform its decisions on how to better protect and promote the health of its elderly population.

Key reference:

Kondo K. (ed.) Health inequalities in Japan: an empirical study of older people. Melbourne, Trans Pacific Press, 2010.

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