GlobaLinks March 2022

Experts in Australia examine health inequalities and population ageing

Prof. Jean Woo from CUHK and Dr. Mark Robinson from UQ share their insights into health inequalities among older adults.

Prof. Jean Woo (right) from CUHK and Dr. Mark Robinson (left) from UQ share their insights into health inequalities among older adults.

CUHK and The University of Queensland (UQ) have been collaborating in a webinar series on health equity to generate dialogues on this topic of global significance. Following two webinars on healthy ageing and ageing with HIV in 2021, the third webinar titled ‘Social Determinants of Health and Health Outcomes’ was hosted by the CUHK Institute of Health Equity (IHE) on 1 March with over 80 participants from around the world.

Social determinants of health are fundamental to understanding inequalities in health outcomes as well as devising policies and programmes to tackle them. Drawing on their research and experiences in population-level strategies and community-level programmes in Hong Kong, Scotland and Australia, Prof. Jean Woo, Co-Director of IHE, and Dr. Mark Robinson of the Institute for Social Science Research at UQ shared their perspectives on health inequalities among older adults, drivers of these inequalities, and what can be done to mitigate the situation.

During the webinar, Dr. Robinson presented the data collected by NHS Health Scotland to illustrate the population health and health inequalities in the region. He also introduced Australia’s National Preventive Health Strategy for 2021–2030 which places health equity at its centre, both in terms of principle as well as one of its strategic aims. Prof. Woo shared her concern over limited data and discussion on health inequity in the city and reflected on the current mismatch between health services and the need of older people. To address the challenges to health equity among older adults, Prof. Woo highlighted, ‘There have been discussions on various mitigating strategies worldwide, such as creating age-friendly cities, designing fit for purpose integrated health and social care systems, and enhancing primary care targeting older people with different conditions.’

Prof. Woo and Dr. Robinson discussed the importance and need of governments to systematically collect health and demographic data in order to develop indicators for monitoring changes and inequalities.

One more webinar on health economics will take place this year. To register your interest in these events, please email the Office of Academic Links.

Watch the video to revisit the webinar (CUHK members only).