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About ILCSA

International Longevity Centre-South Africa (ILCSA) is a not-for-profit research, education and policy organisation with a focus on challenges and opportunities of population ageing, the promotion of healthy and productive ageing, and optimisation of older persons' participation in society.  ILCSA is operated under an inter-institutional partnership between the University of Cape Town (UCT) and North-West University (NWU).  It is co-hosted by The Albertina and Walter Institute of Ageing in Africa (IAA) in the Faculty of Health Sciences at UCT, and by the Optentia Research Focus Area: Ageing and Generational Dynamics in Africa at NWU (Vaal Triangle Campus).

ILSCA was admitted to the International Longevity Center (ILC) Global Alliance, headquartered in New York City, USA, in June 2005. ILC was co-founded by the late Dr Robert Butler, former CEO of ILC USA, and Mr Shigeo Morioka, Honorary President of ILC Japan, in 1990. The organisation is an international group dedicated to the study of longevity, and to forging political, social and economic integration of older persons in society. The group's mission is to help societies to address issues of population ageing, and to respond to challenges and opportunities of this demographic process and resultant longevity in positive and constructive ways.

The ILC Global Alliance currently has 17 centres: in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom. ILCSA is the only ILC in the Africa region.

The Secretariat of the Global Alliance is hosted by ILC USA within the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, New York City, USA. Visit the International Longevity Center (ILC) Global Alliance website.

Mission

The mission of ILCSA is to understand processes, implications and situations of individual and population ageing in South Africa and other sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, with an aim to help the nations to accommodate an expanding older population and to enhance the quality of life of older citizens. ILCSA carries out its mission through research, education, policy analysis and advocacy, and the dissemination of knowledge for decision support.

Thrusts

ILCSA's mission is carried out under three programmatic thrusts. Each thrust and its programme views population ageing positively, as a triumph for humankind, and aims to optimise individuals' capacity for active, healthy and productive ageing. The programmatic thrusts are:

Research

ILCSA's research programme is partly guided and supported by the research programme of the Institute of Ageing in Africa (IAA), a leading research centre of excellence in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and the newly established Ageing and Generational Dynamics in Africa sub-programme, an Optentia Research Focus Area, at the North-West University (Vaal Triangle Campus). Current broad research priority areas include the quality of health care; the epidemiology and management of dementia; health promotion and disease prevention; social protection and poverty reduction; ageing and HIV/AIDS; and social inclusion and empowerment. Current research projects are described under Programmes.

Education

ILCSA seeks to address gaps, and to strengthen education and training in Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine nationally and sub-regionally. Until 2015, no SSA institution of higher learning offered a degree course in Gerontology.  Now, offered from 2016 a master's degree course in Gerontology is being developed and will be offered at North-West University's Vaal Triangle Campus (Professor Jaco Hoffman; jaco.hoffman@nwu.edu.za). Only a handful of universities in SSA offer specialist training in Geriatric Medicine, mainly in South Africa; registrars are accepted for master's and doctoral degree courses in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Cape. ILCSA staff and associates engage with stakeholders sub-regionally to expand Africa relevant education and training on ageing, and to target a wide range of professionals and practitioners in the fields of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine.

Policy

Policy on ageing in South Africa and SSA is under developed; existing policies have a sectoral bias and are fragmented. Governments in the sub-region focus on youth development, job creation and combating communicable disease; issues of ageing receive scant attention from policy makers. ILCSA engages with stakeholders through policy analysis, advocacy, and knowledge production and dissemination to forge new policy development and implementation.

Key ageing related areas in South Africa identified as being in need of policy or policy reform are: a) Integrated long term care services; b) eradication of all forms of elder abuse and age discrimination; c) empowerment of older persons to know and exercise their rights; and d) social inclusion. The areas, underscored in the UN's Strategic Implementation Framework, constitute a set of goals for ILCSA's policy related activities.