HomeMayte Sancho, patron saint of Matia, chosen among the 50 world leaders of the #HealthyAgeing50 initiative of the United Nations and WHO

Mayte Sancho, patron saint of Matia, chosen among the 50 world leaders of the #HealthyAgeing50 initiative of the United Nations and WHO

  • Mayte Sancho was one of the 50 people chosen from more than 500 applications submitted.
  • El Director General de la OMS y otros responsables de organizaciones como la International Federation on Ageing (IFA), reconocieron el papel de liderazgo ejercido por los líderes seleccionados en el ámbito de la mejora de la salud y el bienestar de las personas mayores

As the United Nations points out, the world's population currently lives an average of 20 years longer than 50 years ago. In Spain, a little over a decade. We are living longer, but is society prepared to respond to the challenges that accompany this new longevity?

In response to this challenge and in line with the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, the UN General Assembly declared the period 2021-2030 as the United Nations Decade for Healthy Ageing to advance the following goals:

  1. Changing the way we think, feel and act about age and ageing.
  2. Ensure that communities nurture the capabilities of older people.
  3. Provide integrated, people-centred care and primary health services that are responsive to the needs of older people.
  4. Provide access to long-term care for older people in need.

With this premise, last June saw the launch of "Healthy Ageing 50", an initiative that sought to identify 50 leaders among people who are working in the field of healthy ageing. The #HealthyAgeing50 wanted to recognise the contributions and work of those selected as inspiring examples of what people are already doing to make the goals of the United Nations Decade for Healthy Ageing a reality.

The list of selected individuals was announced yesterday. Among them, Mayte Sancho Castiello, researcher, psychologist-gerontologist, communicator and activist in the field of ageing, with an extensive professional career, inextricably linked to the generation of knowledge in this field.

In his announcement, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, conveyed the following message: "I am pleased to recognise these world-changing leaders who, often with limited resources, show what can be done - and how - to improve the health and well-being of older people".

After a period at the Imserso in which she was able to move from direct care to training and research work, and in which she set up the Observatory on Ageing and Dependency, Mayte has returned to Matia where, as scientific director of the Matia Institute, she will play a key role in promoting the transformation of the long-term care model in residences and homes, with projects such as Etxean Ondo and, more recently, Etxean Bizi.

Mayte is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Matia Foundation and of the NGO Grandes Amigos, and an independent expert, always based on her vocation and interest in generating advances in areas such as age discrimination and, especially, the transformation of the long-term care model. Activities in which she collaborates with various public administrations and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Always close to the world of research and innovation despite her consolidated list of achievements in healthy ageing at national and regional level, she is undoubtedly one of the most recognised figures in the field of gerontology in Spain.

Among those selected are the well-known American activist and writer, Ashton Applewhite; the United Nations independent expert on the rights of older people, Claudia Mahler, and the head of the Greater Manchester Centre for Ageing, Paul McGarry, among others.

About the initiative:

Healthy Ageing 50 is an initiative of the United Nations Decade for Healthy Ageing supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the World Economic Forum (the Forum) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Imagen de la designación de Mayte Sancho entre los líderes seleccionados por la iniciativa #HealthyAgeing50