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Focus on inclusivity DOST towards developing age friendly cities and communities

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NRCP Exec. Director Marieta Banez Sumagaysay presenting a five-minute reaction to the question, "What is the role of your agency in making Philippine cities and communities more age-friendly?" during the Online Roundtable Discussion on Age-friendly Cities and Communities last June 11, 2021

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) supports the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NSCS) in advancing age-friendly cities and communities where “Senior Citizens are treated with respect and are able to exercise the full range of human rights, free from abuse and discrimination, with so much support from family members, health professionals, and the general public and where they are considered as partners in community and nation-building.”

The National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP), through Executive Director Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay presented a five-minute reaction to the question, "What is the role of your agency in making Philippine cities and communities more age-friendly?" during the Online Roundtable Discussion on Age-friendly Cities and Communities last June 11, 2021, organized by the NSCS.

One of the highlights was the DOST framework on smart sustainable cities and communities by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development. Through this framework, DOST aims “to address challenges of urban and regional life in cities through the use of science, technology and innovation to enhance opportunities and address challenges relating to sustainable urban development and smarter cities.”

Sumagaysay also underscored the participation of the senior citizen NRCP members, comprising 31% of more than 4,500 members, in providing science-based solutions and advancing evidence-based policymaking in the country. From 2017 to 2020, 18 senior citizen NRCP members were included as proponents, project leaders, and consultants in the Council’s projects funded by the NRCP and DOST.

In 2019, NRCP funded a project led by Enrique G. Oracion which surveyed the older people with their satisfaction on the quality and sufficiency of local healthcare delivery in Metro Dumaguete. It examined the healthcare quality and sufficiency ratings given by older persons of the services they have availed of from healthcare providers and institutions. Although satisfied with the 20% discount on professional medical fees and other healthcare services, the elderly in Metro Dumaguete is unsatisfied with the miscellaneous healthcare services which include medical assistance during disasters and substitute family care or group homes for neglected older persons. The insufficient and very insufficient ratings given to the miscellaneous healthcare services further suggest that very few older persons were aware or had availed of these provisions on medical assistance during disasters, substitute family care or group homes, monthly stipend for medicines, and after-hospital care or follow-up services. The study recommends the creation and operation of community-based caregiving services that may cater to neglected or older persons living alone and those needing after-hospital care. It is also encouraging the legislators in the country to review the miscellaneous services under the Philippine law to strengthen the delivery of these services to senior citizens.

Other programs presented in this virtual round table discussion are the GALING PCAARRD program of the   Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development, the inclusion of senior citizen National Academy of Science and Technology members in their programs, and the CEST and S4CP programs by the DOST.

This virtual roundtable discussion is in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH).

The WHO is implementing the Regional Action Plan on Healthy Ageing in the Western Pacific. The development of this regional action plan coincides with the launch of “A Decade of Ageing 2020–2030”, which the World Health Assembly endorsed in August 2020. The WHO has also published a guide for global age-friendly cities, describing age-friendly features classified under eight topics: outdoor spaces and building, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, and community support and health services.