Pictures of Ageing in Uganda

People are getting older and not just in Western countries. Societal pressures from extended life expectancy are now emerging in low-income countries. The picture of ageing in low-income countries is not one that is familiar or globally known. So many older persons don’t even know their exact age.Ageing populations across the globe will lead to a rise in frailty, disability and dependency. Solutions to these problems must be financially, socially and environmentally sustainable to avoid prejudicing life chances of current and future populations.This project will work on methods to determine people’s exact ages (demographic information) in a community in Uganda and build up a picture of its older people’s functional and cognitive health.

At the same time, it will involve people in a community arts project to explore their self-perception of ageing.
In addition, proposed solutions must have buy-in from the older population themselves. It will establish an exciting multi-disciplinary partnership network of academics, artists, nongovernmental and governmental organisations in Cambridge and Uganda with a community of older people in Uganda.We will co-develop ideas with a community of older people to produce a multidisciplinary demographic, phenotypic and functional capacity and visual representation of what ageing means to them.

Our interdisciplinary pilot project was undertaken by an equitable partnership between demographers, medical researchers, public health researchers, Social Scientists and practising artists, from Uganda and the UK. It investigates ageing in a semi-rural/ peri-urban District in Uganda, exploring how phenotype and cognitive function, living circumstances and responsibilities are related to age, including to (self) perceived age.

The project is funded by the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund, in this case through a MRC –AHRC call. This is an innovative project focused on ageing which combines medical research with arts and humanities in Uganda.
The project will be based in Wakiso District in Central Uganda and a visit to the proposed community will be undertaken to meet local authorities and community leaders. To ensure that the community voice is represented, other community based organisations or community leaders identified in the chosen community will be encouraged to join stakeholder/ partnership meetings.

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