Here is an interesting paradox: 7.5% of the population in the developing world is elderly, compared to 18.3%
in the developed world. Respective figures for the year 2025 are 11.9% and 23.6%. Not surprising, as the developed countries
have better medical care, greater expectancy of life and longevity. But the irony is, since the population of the developing
countries is high, even small percentages make greater numbers.
However, the most rapid changes are now seen in some of the developing countries with predicted increases
of 200-400% in their elderly populations during the next 30 years, says a WHO report. The day for the older persons was announced.
Targets to work with global ageing were set for 2001, which was designated as the International Year of Older Persons
WHO further promotes the concept of "active ageing" which indicates how the aged can be active members of society
and outlines their rights.
Can natural disasters be reduced? In the wake of the Orissa cyclone, Indians will take that with a pinch of salt.
But even as India was struggling to cope, many International Aid Agencies brought relief that mattered.
UNO, which has declared October 13th as the day for Natural Disaster Reduction, sent its committee to assess the disaster.
The report that the committee will give will be crucial for reducing disaster that comes in the aftermath. It will help control of epidemics, provision of clean drinking water and sanitation, rehabilitation of victims etc. On this day UN has programs to heighten awareness on these aspects of a disaster.
World Health Organization (WHO) defines blindness as the inability to count fingers in daylight at a distance of
3 metres. There is a vast majority of blind people in developing countries. It has been found that there is a high prevalence in Saudi
Arabia and the lowest incidence in Europe.
Two thirds of the blindness found in developing countries is preventable. The primary cause is cataract, which comprises 50 to
60 percent of all cases. This, however, is curable by a minor surgery. Trachoma (and associated bacterial conjunctivitis) is another important cause of
blindness. Malnutrition, lack of vitamin A, causes permanent blindness. These can be prevented and that is why the White Cane Day
is important. It spreads awareness and rallies support for the blind.
Quiz on Preventable Blindness
From a famine stricken land India has become a food surplus country. Despite the controversies that surround it, the
green revolution should take credit for it. Agriculture contributes over a fourth of the GDP and forms 18% of the exports. India stands among
the first ten countries in the production of many fruits and vegetables.
But many Indians go without a meal every night. And in many poor countries the numbers must be comparable to this.
FAO pleads for solidarity in the struggle against hunger. The World Food Day marks the date of the founding of the FAO in 1945.
Improvement in technology and distribution systems could have the key to eradicating hunger. For instance, nearly one third of all
the produce in India goes waste due to bad storage and transportation facilities. High levels of fraud in the Public Distribution
System, that directs the subsidised food grains from the poor to the non poor makes the system a drain on the economy without fulfilling