NARI adds international partners

The National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) has partnered with a host of international health and research organisations to improve the health and well-being of older people across the globe.

Researchers from NARI recently visited Vietnam, India and Ghana, connecting with fellow researchers and health professionals from a number of entities to jointly pursue research goals, provide expert leadership, and promote excellence in the field of ageing. The partnerships coincide with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Decade of Healthy Ageing.

Across the three trips, NARI partnered with:

  • The National Geriatric Hospital and Vietnam Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics — for collaboration in a number of areas starting with falls prevention in hospitals;
  • Help Age International (Vietnam) — to integrate the International Self-Help Club (ISHC) model of home-based community care;
  • The Health Strategy and Policy Institute – Ministry of Health Vietnam — to assist in the provision of an evidence base for Vietnam’s national health policy;
  • The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in India, Queen Mary University of London, and Curtin University of Technology — to lead the Moving Pictures India study in partnership with; and
  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana — to collaborate with its Bureau of Integrated Rural Development.

NARI Director, Professor Briony Dow, said strengthening Australia’s ageing research with international bodies is essential as the number of older people worldwide is projected to more than double in the coming decades — reaching more than 1.5 billion people in 2050. 

“These relationships are helping us to create an international ageing and aged care research sector, equipping both NARI and our partners with the resources to continue our ongoing research, and expand our capacity for future projects,” Professor Dow said.

In November, NARI researchers Associate Professor Tuan Nguyen, Professor Bianca Brijnath and Associate Professor Frances Batchelor presented at the National Conference on Gerontology and Geriatrics in Hanoi, Vietnam. The party delivered presentations on fall prevention, the role of digital health in dementia care, and NARI’s e-DiVA project, before signing three Memorandums of Understanding with key Vietnamese partners in the health and social care sectors.

“It’s been a way to showcase the important work being done by NARI in Australia, and to create a web of partners for future research, expansions of current projects, and support the work being done in other countries,” Associate Professor Nguyen said.

“Following NARI’s work in building an evidence base for Vietnam’s National Dementia Plan, we were looking to solidify this connection with ongoing, mutually beneficial partnerships, which will continue to make a real difference to the lives of older people.”

India has the fastest-growing dementia rate worldwide. However, the lack of dementia awareness in India means 90 per cent of Indians with dementia – approximately 6.3 million people – will have a delayed diagnosis and experience sub-optimal care.

To help combat this, NARI’s Professor Bianca Brijnath has taken her successful multimedia dementia prevention project abroad, creating Moving Pictures India – building on earlier videos created in Hindi. (see the main video).

Co-produced with Indian carers, health professionals, and communities, the project will see the creation of nine short films and animations on dementia, help-seeking pathways, the importance of self-care, useful questions to ask health professionals, and how to care for a person with dementia at home on a daily basis.

Moving Pictures India will share stories and experiences of people living with dementia, along with practical tips and information about services that are available to support people caring for those living with dementia,” Professor Brijnath said.

“We’re leveraging India’s growing digital presence to share these videos to inform and educate communities who haven’t been reached previously.”

In Ghana, Professor Brijnath is embarking on research across a broad spectrum of specialties, including healthy ageing, institutional support for older people, dementia, elder abuse, fall prevention and more.

“This is a really important opportunity for NARI to collaborate with other countries, share our learnings, and gain insights from experts and communities with different experiences,” Professor Dow said.

“Everything we learn with, and from, these partners will inform our work back here, in Australia,” Professor Dow added.

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