Every now and again you leave a symposium or a meeting where you know something important has happened: A light has been thrown on a problem that some people had not really noticed before and they are in a position to do something about it, and this illumination is in the best interests of patients, everywhere.
The workshop, moderated by Dr Michael Hodin addressed the topic, “Adult Immunisation: A central driver of prevention and wellness”. The session highlighted the importance of adult vaccination and particularly the importance of vaccinations in a rapidly ageing world and the natural degeneration of immunity systems associated with growing older. This issue calls for urgent attention to the need for new health and prevention programs to enable our communities to be active and productive across the life span. However I learnt that one should be careful in defining “the elderly” as there is a concern that age segmentation can marginalise societal response to the needs of those who progress through the chronological life line!
The International Federation on Ageing have identified the preventative measure of adult immunisation as a key work program. IAPO’s principles of patient-centred health care will strengthen the process to advance the recognition of this preventative measure and to ensure the patient voice is heard as programs are developed. I’m confident that there are mutual opportunities to both IAPO and the IFA in promoting such programmes that will sustain the spaciousness of health for millions of patients everywhere.
Change and reform in our healthcare systems should not be preceded by funerals and potentially avoidable patient illness. The evidence is in: immunisations across the life course save lives!
Time will tell if the Prague Illumination was a spark or torch – either way it’s up to you and me to protect it!
Stephen McMahon, IAPO Governing Board Member
Read more about Stephen's reflections on this event