American Chamber of Commerce Shanghai (AmCham Shanghai) invited Project HOPE to present the “Senior Care” program at their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) networking meeting. The AmCham CSR’s mission statement is “To promote corporate social responsibility, sustainability awareness and best practices; and advance public policies to ensure long-term social and economic well-being in China”. One of their key elements of concern is community outreach. AmCham CSR has invited non-government organizations (NGO), like Project HOPE, and multinational companies to share best practices on CSR initiatives at their regular meetings. More recently, there has been a great interest in China’s rapidly increasing aging population which is an important concern for policy makers. Recent surveys from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) found about 25% of China’s 185 million elder population (those over 60 years old) is currently living in poverty with little to no access to healthcare and other social services. There is already a shortage of elderly care in major cities in China. The report continues to state that “it (China) is struggling to put in place adequate health care and retirement support before the problem spins out of control.”
To address some of these challenges, Leah Bardfield, Pfizer Global Health Fellow, presented the goals and healthcare initiatives of the “Senior Care” program, which is a two year grant (Jan. 2013-Dec. 2014) funded by The Baxter International Foundation. Since the official launch of the program in May 2013, a healthcare fair on the topic of diabetes and a music exercise program have been completed and initiated, respectively. In addition to the Power PowerPoint presentation, the audience was shown a short video of the seniors participating in the music exercise program which is scheduled three times a week for 30-40 minute sessions. The overall goal of the “Senior Care” program is to provide efficient and cost-effective healthcare services in keeping with the “healthy aging” concept.
After the presentation, multinational organizations and other NGOs had interest in some of the healthcare initiatives. Rachel McNamara, from Habitat for Humanity China, discussed with me how their organization is providing affordable housing for the elderly population and ensuring that these homes are safe for an elderly person living by themselves. One of Project HOPE’s “Senior Care” goals is to provide a safe home environment by providing fall prevention education so many of the attendees had a common interest in providing quality healthcare for China’s aging population. I feel that this meeting allowed for sharing of best practices which is one of the goals of AmCham CSR and provided valuable information on Project HOPE’s elderly care initiatives, and The Baxter International Foundation’s support to the needs for senior care in China. Mr. David Basmajian, Baxter’s Head of Policy/Asia Pacific, also attended the presentation and was pleased that The Baxter International Foundation can contribute to the local senior healthcare initiatives. There may be some future collaborations with some of the other NGOs and multinational companies which is a “win-win” proposition in helping China’s elderly population achieve a good quality of life.
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