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The University of Southampton
GerontologyPart of Economic, Social & Political Science

Dr Isabella Aboderin 

Associate Professor in Gerontology

Dr Isabella Aboderin's photo

Dr Isabella Aboderin is Associate Professor in Gerontology within Gerontology at the University of Southampton.

I joined the Centre for Research on Ageing in October 2013. I concurrently hold a position as Senior Research Scientist at the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) in Nairobi, Kenya, where I lead a Programme on Ageing and development in sub-Saharan Africa. From 2007 to 2013 I worked at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing as senior research fellow, and between 2004 and 2007 as a research fellow. Prior to joining the Oxford Institute I worked as a Technical Officer in the World Health Organization Unit on Ageing and the Lifecourse in Geneva, and as a research associate at the International Institute on Health and Ageing at the University of Bristol. I completed a PhD in Social Policy Studies at the University of Bristol, an MSc in Health Promotion Sciences at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and a BSc in Cellular and Molecular Pathology at the University of Bristol. My professional roles include serving as Africa Regional Chair of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics; Technical Adviser for the Global Commission on Ageing in Developing Countries; and Member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Ageing.

Research interests

My major research interests centre on questions of intergenerational relationships, health and well-being in old age, and long-term care in sub-Saharan Africa, and on the broader nexus between issues of population ageing and core development agendas in the region. Two key concerns that cut across, and inform, my work in these areas are (i) an effort to generate policy relevant evidence and foster active engagement with policy and civil society role players in SSA and (ii) to advance gerontological theory and a vibrant ‘African gerontology’ .

My research combines qualitative and quantitative approaches, and draws on my interdisciplinary background in social policy and public health.

Key research projects I am currently involved in include:

  1. ‘Working Group’ on Ageing and a Demographic Dividend in Africa – a partnership initiative with the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa, which I co-ordinate. The project aims to generate initial conceptual thinking and evidence on a potential relevance of SSA’s current older population for the achievement of a first demographic dividend in Africa, and to distil emerging recommendations for policy and further research.
  2. Development of a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework for the African Union Plan of Action on Ageing - partnership project with HelpAge International, which I lead. The M&E framework is intended to enable a systematic, periodical appraisal of the progress African States are making in implementing the Plan and developing responses to ageing.
  3. ‘Understanding Resilience in Later Life in a Low Resource Setting’. This is a mixed method project undertaken by CRAG in partnership with the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) in Nairobi. The project seeks to improve our understanding of major old age-related hardships facing older people living in the slums of Nairobi and of the social capital, individual and community resources they might draw on, and the ways in which they do this, to cope with and maintain their well-being in the face of these adversities.
  4. ‘Developing an evidence revolution on ageing in Kenya’ – a partnership initiative with the Kenya Ministry of Labour and Social Development, and HelpAge International, which I lead This project seeks to identify priority policy-related evidence needs on ageing in Kenya, as well as potential data-sources or platforms that can be used to furnish it. To this end, the project involves focused consultations with key government and non-governmental stakeholder bodies across the then thematic areas of the Kenya National Policy on Ageing and Older Persons. It is expected that Kenya’s approach will serve as a model for other countries in sub-Saharan Africa
  5. Further work: Drawing on insights generated from the above and prior empirical studies and policy engagement I am presently developing thinking and project plans on a number of further areas, including: ‘realities and discourses of long-term care’, ‘health systems adaptation to ageing’ and ‘understanding subjective well-being in old age’ in sub-Saharan African settings

Dr Isabella Aboderin
Centre for Research on Ageing Social Sciences University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom
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