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The rapid growth in the number of older people worldwide is unprecedented. As a result of achievements in decreasing high death rates and high fertility rates many countries in Asia and the Pacific are undergoing rapid demographic transition with increases in the proportion of older people.
Along with globalisation and urbanisation this is resulting in a change in the pattern of illness towards chronic, non-communicable diseases and problems of ageing.
Older people make an important contribution to their families and communities, but this can be undermined by illness or disability. There is an urgent need to re-orient primary health care and social welfare services towards the needs of older people and their families.
The ageing of populations is a significant development issue. Older people tend to be the poorest population group and countries are ageing before they become rich. There is a growing interest in research to inform policy makers and planners in the region.
In the labs we are researching autoimmune and inflammatory responses, cancer immunology and the impact of age on the immune system.