Health & Life Sciences Update: Health Implications of an Aging ASEAN

Health & Life Sciences Update | February 1, 2018
Authors: Shay Wester, Hai Pham, Ying Hui Tng, and Natalie McDaniel
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

March 6-7. 2018 Business Mission to the Philippines: The US-ASEAN Business Council is registering senior-level executives for its annual Business Mission to the Philippines. The deadline for receipt of registration and mission materials is Tuesday, February 20, 2018.

March 13-15, 2018 Business Mission to Indonesia: The US-ASEAN Business Council is now registering senior-level executives for its annual  Business Mission to Indonesia. The deadline for receipt of registration and mission materials is Tuesday, February 27, 2018

March 27-29, 2018 Business Mission to Vietnam: The US-ASEAN Business Council is now registering senior-level executives for its annual Business Mission to Vietnam. The deadline for receipt of registration and mission materials is Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

March 29-30, 2018 Health & Life Sciences Mission to Vietnam: The US-ASEAN Business Council is now registering senior-level executives for its 2018 Health & Life Sciences Mission to Vietnam.  The deadline for receipt of registration and mission materials is Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Health Implications of an Aging ASEAN

Southeast Asia’s rapidly aging populations will greatly impact future demand trends for healthcare services and products. Such trends are also likely generate additional pressures on national healthcare budgets for years to come. The proportion of aging persons in the ASEAN region will rapidly expand, from 7.73% in 2015 to 15.49% in 2030. Non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer, obesity and high blood pressure present major health risks to seniors and require large budgets to treat effectively.

Singapore is experimenting with various innovative models of care, including programs that streamline care across specialties, creating health care spaces which simulate a home-like environment for in-patients, and implementing schemes to provide elders with post-discharge care at home. There have also been initiatives to utilize technology to enable elderly people who live alone to remain in their homes while receiving care. There is also some discussion of ElderShield, the insurance for people with severe disabilities who cannot carry out personal care needs without assistance, being made compulsory and administered by the government rather than private companies. To address increased healthcare demands, the Ministry of Health has also been offering nursing scholarships and creating incentives for career-changers to enter the healthcare field.

In Thailand, the World Bank has projected that over a quarter of the population will be 65 years or older by 2040. While all Thai citizens have been included in universal health coverage since 2002, many older people find using the available public health services challenging, particularly in rural areas. Reducing barriers for poor elderly in rural areas remains a problem, though an increase in home visits and health-promotion activities have had positive outcomes. The Health Ministry has launched several initiatives to improve care for elderly individuals, such as a full spectrum of healthcare providers working together in Family Care Teams. The Family Care Teams are designed to help seniors live a more comfortable life through stronger communication and a combination of conventional and Thai traditional healthcare approaches. 6,500 teams are expected to be up and running by 2026. Thailand is also considering increasing the eligibility age for pensions and investing in relearning programs for elderly Thais seeks reemployment.

Measles Outbreaks in Indonesia and the Philippines

In the Philippines, Davao City has declared a measles outbreak after over 200 reported cases and 14 suspected deaths. The city is conducting an “Outbreak Response Immunization” to prevent further cases, including a mass immunization of children through fixed site, house-to-house and health center measles immunization. There has been some concern over measles vaccination due to the Dengvaxia scandal. Some parents have been resistant to having their children receive the measles vaccination in fear of vaccine injury.

In Indonesia’s Papua, a measles outbreak has sickened 800 children and killed 66 this month. The measles outbreak in Papua is exacerbated by widespread malnutrition, which makes children more susceptible to falling ill. Furthermore, Papua lacks adequate health services for its residents and suffers from a shortage of medical personnel. Papuans have largely been left out of the national vaccine regimen. President Joko Widodo has sent Indonesian military paramedics to the easternmost province of Papua, where the majority of the infections have occurred

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

2018 Health & Life Sciences Industry Mission to the Philippines

On January 30-31, the US-ASEAN Business Council held its second Health & Life Sciences Mission to the Philippines. The mission featured a meeting with Health Secretary Duque and Undersecretary Villaverde and included other meetings such as the Municipal Development Fund Office, Philhealth, and a joint meeting with the Philippine Association of Medical Device Regulatory Affairs Professionals (PAMDRAP) and the Food and Drug Administration-- Department of Health. Notes from the mission will be distributed to members soon. 

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
ASEAN
India-ASEAN decide to encourage co-op in strengthening health systems

Brunei
Technology advances allow for more personalised medicine and healthcare, says minister
Medical breakthroughs give TBCC more aces
Symposium highlights cancer research developments

Cambodia
Cambodians visit PH to study its social health insurance system
Cambodian capital Phnom Penh looks to establish medical tourism hub
A Chinese University To Help Cambodia Combat Malaria
Cambodia Launches National Ageing Policy 2017-2030

Indonesia
Health team tackles measles outbreak in 117 villages in Asmat
100 in Indonesia's Papua feared dead from malnutrition, measles
Patients in hospital beds evacuated during earthquake
Gov't to Help Local Seafood Producers Meet Global Health Standards
Kalbe Farma Partners With Two Japanese Firms to Set Up Rp 100b Clinical Lab

Laos
Laos, Luxembourg to jointly manage maternal health projects
Ministry’s new recruits to target improved mother, child health

Malaysia
Malaysia Becomes World's First AI-enabled Stethoscope Production Base
Health Ministry actively monitors prescription drugs sold to Malaysians
All medicines, vaccines from Health Ministry halal, says Dr Hilmi
Belt-and-Road spawns healthcare opportunities
Minister: MAF Health Transformation Plan improves national health system
Six Key Objectives To Strengthen ATM's Healthcare Services
Health Ministry serious about reducing obesity, improving health
Azmin unveils new healthcare scheme for S'gor civil service
Cuba exploring possibility of producing vaccines in M’sia
Ministry Awaits Final Reports On Suspected Fake Baby Formula
Health Ministry still in talks over bundle concept implementation

Myanmar
Medical group to raise alarm about malaria
Speculation Mounts over President U Htin Kyaw’s Health

Philippines
Measles outbreak declared in Davao City
Sanofi Pasteur to shoulder cost of Dengvaxia deaths
PhilHealth: Nurses may now apply for accreditation as healthcare providers
DOH: HIV cases due to paid sex breach 1,000
Health group on tobacco tax rise: We rely on you, DOF
Anti-aging field ‘explodes’ in pursuit of healthy old age

Singapore
IP Considerations in Singapore’s Healthcare and Medical Technologies Sector
Spending on seniors' services a 'big item' in Budget 2018
First Zika case of 2018 reported in Singapore
Finding a cure for rising costs in healthcare
Changi breaks through the 2m cargo tonnes barrier in 2017
Committee set up to recommend medical fee benchmarks
Singapore's leadership 'must not become aged', renewal needed: DPM Teo

Thailand
Bangkok air pollution at harmful levels
PTT delves into medicine with Thailand's first cancer drug plant-
TDRI warns of soaring Bt1.4-tn annual healthcare
Stagnant emission rules 'threaten clean air progress'

Vietnam
Satellite hospitals save lives in remote areas
$21m health programme launched
Health ministry launches SUN Movement in Việt Nam
Hanoi targets all HIV carriers with health insurance
Cancer patients breathe sigh of relief
Vietnam imports over US$2.82 billion of pharmaceuticals in 2017
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
ASEAN

India-ASEAN decide to encourage co-op in strengthening health systems The New Indian Express 26th Jan 2018
India and the ASEAN countries today decided to encourage cooperation in strengthening health systems as well as affordable medicines. The Delhi Declaration of the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit to mark the 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations said the nations decided to strengthen cooperation in education and youth sectors, disaster management and humanitarian assistance among others. "Encourage health cooperation in areas relevant to the ASEAN Post-2015 Health Development Agenda, particularly in the area of strengthening health system and access to care, as well as safe and good quality medical products and affordable quality medicines, including traditional and complementary medicines," the declaration said.

Brunei

Technology advances allow for more personalised medicine and healthcare, says minister Borneo Bulletin Online 22nd Jan 2018
With advances in science, it is now possible to develop innovative, precise and targeted medicine for every patient needing them, and to match those treatments to patients who are most likely to benefit from them. The continuing progress of science in the field of healthcare was highlighted by Dato Paduka Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Jaafar, the Minister of Health, in his address as the guest of honour at the opening ceremony of the 3rd National Scientific Symposium. The event was held yesterday at the Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah (PAPRSB) Institute of Health Sciences (IHS) of Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD). “The precision medicine approach of leveraging unique genetic and genomic characteristics of individual patients to healthcare, is allowing some of them to respond to treatment much better than others,” he said.

Medical breakthroughs give TBCC more aces Borneo Bulletin Online 22nd Jan 2018
The Brunei Cancer Centre’s (TBCC) latest cancer molecular profiling technologies will enable experts to better understand cancer cases and offer more precise treatment options for patients, explained Dr Lu Shir Kiong, a consultant medical oncologist at TBCC, Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC). Dr Lu was speaking while delivering his presentation titled ‘Molecular Profiling of Cancer: Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma’ during ‘Symposium 1 on Cancer’ of the 3rd National Scientific Symposium at the Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah (PAPRSB) Institute of Health Sciences (IHS), Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) yesterday. He said technology to determine the molecular profile of cancer has been developed, resulting in positive implications for clinical care. “Advances in sequencing technologies such as next-generation sequ-encing and array-based approaches mean that the genetic landscape and driver genes of a wide range of cancers can now be revealed,” noted Dr Lu. “These medical breakthroughs have already translated into better understanding of the biological behaviour of several cancer types to improve diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.”

Symposium highlights cancer research developments Borneo Bulletin Online 21st Jan 2018
The Brunei Darussalam Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (BAMLS) together with the Pediatric Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences (PAPRSB IHS), Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) held the 3rd National Scientific Symposium Dinner last night at Parkview Hotel, Jerudong. Attending the dinner as the guest of honour was the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Haji Abdul Manap bin Othman. Also present were the Deputy Permanent Secretaries at the Ministry of Health (MoH); Director General of Medical and Health Services: Department Directors in the MoH; Dean and Deputy Dean of the PAPRSB IHS UBD, officers and staff under the MoH, participants of the symposium and invited guests.

Cambodia

Cambodians visit PH to study its social health insurance system Manila Bulletin News 26th Jan 2018
Sixteen delegates from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) of Cambodia visited the Philippines to study the country’s experiences in implementing the social health insurance program and providing coverage for the informal sector worker. Ruben John A. Basa, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), welcomed the delegates headed by NSSF deputy director Sum Sophorn. Basa said the PhilHealth’s existence for the past 22 years has made it the biggest social protection agency in the Philippines.

Cambodian capital Phnom Penh looks to establish medical tourism hub Emigrate 19th Jan 2018
Cambodia is becoming increasingly popular as a retirement and small business hub, but older expats are worried about the lack of reliable medical services. For would-be expats sick and tired of the increasing commercialisation of many formerly attractive retirement destinations, Cambodia is the new kid on the block for its simplicity, traditional lifestyles and beautiful countryside. The cost of living is lower than in neighbouring Thailand, and the Cambodians are reputed to be more welcoming to foreigners than are the Thais nowadays.

A Chinese University To Help Cambodia Combat Malaria Agence Kampuchea Presse 26th Jan 2018
Cambodia’s Minister of Health H.E. Mam Bunheng received here early this week a visiting delegation of Hainan Medical University, China. During the meeting, the Chinese delegation pledged to cooperate with the Ministry of Health in the anti-malaria campaign as Cambodia was committed to eliminate this deadly disease by 2025.

Cambodia Launches National Ageing Policy 2017-2030 Agence Kampuchea Presse 18th Jan 2018
The National Ageing Policy 2017-2030 was launched here this morning at the Peace Palace under the presidency of Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen. On the occasion, Samdech Techo Hun Sen expressed his appreciation for the national policy which will help solving issues of the elderly population arising from demographic changes. At the same time, the premier agreed to be the Honorary President of the Foundation for the Elderly at the request of Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation H.E. Vong Soth.

Indonesia

Health team tackles measles outbreak in 117 villages in Asmat Antara News 28th Jan 2018
An integrated health team has successfully served 117 villages spread in Asmat District, Papua Province, to tackle malnutrition and the measles outbreak. The team comprised elements from the Health Office of Papua Province, health team of the Indonesian National Army, and the Ministry of Health. "The first wave of the integrated health team should have been withdrawn, as the team has successfully treated children with measles and malnutrition in 117 villages," Yusuf Wona, a member of the integrated health team from the Health Office of Papua, stated when confirmed from Jayapura, Papua Province, on Saturday.

100 in Indonesia's Papua feared dead from malnutrition, measles Channel NewsAsia 21st Jan 2018
A measles outbreak is feared to have killed about 100 malnourished people in Indonesia's Papua, an official said Sunday (Jan 21), highlighting a health crisis in the country's easternmost province. A total of 69 toddlers have died in the remote Asmat region, said Papua military spokesman Muhammad Aidi, while reports on the ground suggest 27 people have died in an equally remote and mountainous district named Oksibil. "We have received reports from villagers that the outbreak is also happening in Oksibil district and our staff have confirmed that, but we still need to check how many people have died," Aidi told AFP.

Patients in hospital beds evacuated during earthquake The Jakarta Post 23rd Jan 2018
Hospital courtyards in Jakarta were full of patients after an earthquake shook Banten on Tuesday afternoon.   Patients, visitors and medical workers at Budhi Jaya Mother and Child Hospital in South Jakarta were evacuated after the quake jolted West Java and Greater Jakarta. “Everyone was in a panic because the tremors were really severe,” said hospital visitor Rustiana, 29, on Tuesday, referring to the 6.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Lebak in Banten. The tremors were felt as far as Tasikmalaya in West Java, some 366 kilometers from the epicenter. The patients, weak and pale, were evacuated to all corners of the hospital courtyard along with nurses and midwives, tribunnews.com reported.

Gov't to Help Local Seafood Producers Meet Global Health Standards Jakarta Globe 19th Jan 2018
Indonesian producers will receive intensive guidance on health requirements for fish and seafood products in the country's main export markets, a senior official at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said. Nilanto Perbowo, director general of product competitiveness at the ministry, said a general lack of awareness of seafood health requirements among Indonesian exporters is one of the main reasons the country could not meet its fish export target last year.

Kalbe Farma Partners With Two Japanese Firms to Set Up Rp 100b Clinical Lab Jakarta Globe 18th Jan 2018
Kalbe Farma, Indonesia's largest pharmaceutical company, announced on Thursday (18/01) that it has forged partnerships with two Japanese companies to establish a Rp 100 billion ($7 million) clinical laboratory in Sunter, North Jakarta. This will allow Yokohama-based medical laboratory service provider Health Sciences Research Institute (HSRI) and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, to make inroads in Indonesia's health care sector. Kalbe and the two Japanese companies have established Innolab Sains Internasional, a joint venture in which the Indonesian company controls 60 percent and HSRI and Toyota Tsusho 20 percent each.

Laos

Laos, Luxembourg to jointly manage maternal health projects Vientiane Times 26th Jan 2018
Laos and Luxembourg plan to better implement cooperative projects to improve maternal and child health through a joint participatory mechanism (JPM). Officials from both countries led by Dr Phasouk Vongvichit from the Department of Planning and International Cooperation, and Lao/027 Project Manager Peter Heimann began discussions on the mechanism yesterday. The two countries launched the project in 2014 with full financial support from Luxembourg to support the Lao government’s plan to reform the health sector.

Ministry’s new recruits to target improved mother, child health Vientiane Times 25th Jan 2018
The Ministry of Health aims to improve health standards in local communities by promoting volunteers to civil servant status in accordance with the quota allocated by the government for 2018. Most of this year’s quota of 440 civil servants will be taken from current volunteers who are already working in the health sector in the field of mother and child health and nutrition. Deputy Minister of Health, Associate Prof. Dr Phouthone Muongpak, said the new recruits appointed under the quota would support the development of 71 focal locations in rural areas.

Malaysia

Malaysia Becomes World's First AI-enabled Stethoscope Production Base Bermana 29th Jan 2018
M3DICINE, an Australian private medical device design and manufacturing company, has made Malaysia the production base for Stethee - the world's first Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled stethoscope system. In a joint statement today, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), M3DICINE and Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science and Technology (CREST) stated that M3DICINE Technology Sdn Bhd, the Malaysian unit of M3DICINE, together with its strategic partner, CREST, has launched the high technology product.

Health Ministry actively monitors prescription drugs sold to Malaysians NST Online 28th Jan 2018
The Health Ministry is constantly monitoring the situation to ensure that prescription drugs are not sold through the internet. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said that the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) is actively monitoring of drugs being sold to Malaysians. "We are constantly monitoring the situation. Drugs that are brought in (to Malaysia) must be registered with the government," he said. "We check all the medicines before they can be registered," he said. He was commenting on the issue of prescription drugs being sold on the internet, which was raised by the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (PMS) recently.

All medicines, vaccines from Health Ministry halal, says Dr Hilmi NST Online 27th Jan 2018
All medicines and vaccines given to patients in Malaysia are halal, the Health Ministry said. Its Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said claims made by certain quarters that medicines and vaccines provided by the ministry contained porcine DNA were unfounded. He said, in the past, it was the anti-vaccine movement making such claims.

Belt-and-Road spawns healthcare opportunities The Star Online 25th Jan 2018
The inaugural Malaysia-China “Belt and Road” Healthcare Dialogue has provided a platform for medical experts from both countries to share their experiences, and opened up new opportunities. The one-day event in Kuala Lumpur covered issues such as chronic disease management and questions faced by the healthcare industry. The highlight was the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between DBH Holdings Sdn Bhd’s healthcare subsidiary DBH Medicare Sdn Bhd, and the Middle-Aged and Elderly Healthcare Branch of the China Association for Promotion of International Exchange of Healthcare.

Minister: MAF Health Transformation Plan improves national health system Malay Mail 18th Jan 2018
The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) Health Services Transformation Plan 2017-2050 launched by the Defence Ministry today will bring a major change to the national health service delivery system on par with international standards in the future. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the long-term plan was expected to strengthen cooperation between the two ministries thus creating more specialised areas such as diving medicine and aviation medicine that would benefit both parties.

Six Key Objectives To Strengthen ATM's Healthcare Services Bermana 18th Jan 2018
The Defence Ministry has outlined six key objectives to strengthen the healthcare services of the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) towards its personnel, veterans and also the public through the ATM Health Services Transformation Plan 2017-2050. Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the objectives were strengthening the professionalism of the military health practitioners; mainstreaming the military medical services; and developing the best healthcare system for personnel, veterans and their families.

Health Ministry serious about reducing obesity, improving health NST Online 18th Jan 2018
Multi-sectoral agreement is needed to limit the operating hours of mamak restaurants and hawker stalls, said Health Minister Datuk Seri S Subramaniam. Apart from the Health Ministry, he said the move needed agreement and approval from Tourism Ministry, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry, among others, for the proposal to see implementation.

Azmin unveils new healthcare scheme for S'gor civil service Malaysiakini 29th Jan 2018
elangor has introduced a new health insurance scheme for the state's civil servants. Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali unveiled the "Skim Peduli Sihat Penjawat Awam Selangor" at the monthly state civil service meeting today, after praising the state's civil service for its hard work and contributions to the state's progress over the past year. "The takaful scheme is an endeavor to help Selangor civil service members obtain quality healthcare."

Cuba exploring possibility of producing vaccines in M’sia Malaysiakini 28th Jan 2018
Cuba has extended an invitation to Malaysia to explore the possibility of producing Cuban vaccines in Malaysia, as the country is renowned for its healthcare innovations and affordability. Speaking to Bernama during the Cuban National Day here recently, its ambassador to Malaysia, Ibete Fernandez Hernandez said Malaysia had ample facilities to produce these vaccines. “Malaysia can be a platform for the production of vaccines that will be beneficial... I see so many possibilities and Malaysian businesspeople can go to Cuba to see what we are doing there.

Ministry Awaits Final Reports On Suspected Fake Baby Formula Bermana 26th Jan 2018
Action against traders selling and distributing the suspected fake baby formula seized in Johor last month can only be taken after obtaining the final investigation reports on the milk. Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said the ministry was still awaiting the final reports from several agencies and departments such as the Health Department and the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia.

Health Ministry still in talks over bundle concept implementation Malaysiakini 18th Jan 2018
The Health Ministry is still in talks with the private healthcare and insurance companies on the technical aspects of implementing the bundling concept to address the rising cost of private healthcare, said its minister Dr S Subramaniam. Stating that the ministry had already started the initial consultations with the stakeholders, he said the implementation was still pending since there were still numerous technical aspects to overcome.

Myanmar

Medical group to raise alarm about malaria The Myanmar Times 22nd Jan 2018
Myanmar Medical Association (MMA), aims to expand its activities in the fight against malaria, by recruiting more volunteers and setting up an early detection and warning mechanism in communities prone to the deadly disease. The MMA will educate and train village-level health volunteers in Pathein, Tharbaung and Ngaputaw townships of Ayeyarwady Region, under the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) operated by the Ministry of Health and Sports. Also joining the program are the private sector and non-governmental agencies.

Speculation Mounts over President U Htin Kyaw’s Health The Irrawaddy 19th Jan 2018
Speculation over President U Htin Kyaw’s health is growing among politicians, army officers and diplomats. U Htin Kyaw has been receiving medical treatment in Bangkok since late last year, and plans to visit Singapore for further treatment soon. Top army officers and diplomats have noted U Htin Kyaw’s frail appearance, and the president has been advised not to attend state functions. The 71-year-old recently traveled to Japan at the invitation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to attend the Universal Health Coverage Forum in Tokyo. However, he also received treatment there, according to unconfirmed reports.

Philippines

Measles outbreak declared in Davao City Rappler 23rd Jan 2018
The local government here declared a measles outbreak as more than 200 people showed signs they were suffering from the highly-contagious infection. Josephine Villafuerte, the city’s chief health officer, said Monday, January 22, that at least 222 people here, not all residents of Davao City, had measles, an infection locally known as tigdas. In pamphlets released by the Department of Health (DOH), tidas is described as a virus that thrives well in the country due to climate change, and that it infects best when temperature levels are low.

Sanofi Pasteur to shoulder cost of Dengvaxia deaths PhilStar 23rd Jan 2018
French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur will shoulder the cost of any death or “adverse event” suffered by those inoculated with its anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, a top executive of the company told a Senate inquiry yesterday. Sanofi Pasteur Asia-Pacific region head Thomas Triomphe was responding to questions from senators on whether the company was willing to pay for any deaths or illness linked to Dengvaxia. “Should there be any case relative to vaccination, be it death or any other case, we’ll shoulder the cost if there is causality but has been demonstrated to scientific evidence,” Triomphe told the joint inquiry of the Senate Blue Ribbon and health committees.

PhilHealth: Nurses may now apply for accreditation as healthcare providers Manila Bulletin News 22nd Jan 2018
Registered nurses may now apply for accreditation with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) as healthcare providers. “Registered nurses in the Philippines may now apply for accreditation with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation as providers of maternity care (MCP), newborn care (NCP), and normal spontaneous delivery (NSD) packages in accredited birthing homes,” the PhilHealth said in a statement. Through Circular 2017-0023 (Revision 1), the PhilHealth called on registered nurses to become professional heath care providers for the three packages in PhilHealth-accredited birthing homes.

DOH: HIV cases due to paid sex breach 1,000 PhilStar 29th Jan 2018
Cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) due to paid sex exceeded a thousand last year, the Department of Health (DOH) reported. According to the HIV and AIDS Registry, at least 96 additional cases in November pushed to 1,020 the total number of people who got infected with the potentially deadly infection after engaging in “transactional sex” during the first 11 months of 2017. “People who engage in transactional sex are tho

Health group on tobacco tax rise: We rely on you, DOF Manila Bulletin News 28th Jan 2018
A health group yesterday welcomed Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III’s announcement that the Department of Finance’s (DOF’s) proposed tax package will include higher tobacco tax. “Finance Secretary Dominguez’s pronouncement that their proposed tax package will include tobacco tax increase is a very positive development. We are relying on them to follow through on their commitment and actively push for tobacco tax increase in Congress. We recommend that their proposed tobacco tax increase be at least P60 per pack in order to save hundreds of thousands of lives in the Philippines,” said president Mary Ann Fernandez Mendoza of Health Justice Philippines, a think tank and advocacy group with legal expertise on tobacco control and health promotion.

Anti-aging field ‘explodes’ in pursuit of healthy old age Manila Bulletin News 26th Jan 2018
Experts on the forefront of anti-aging medicine say the field is booming, with therapies on the horizon to target illnesses like cancer and Alzheimer’s and make for a healthier, older population in the years to come. Such remedies are increasingly important because of the world’s aging population. Growing old, experts say, is a leading risk factor for most human diseases and a major socioeconomic problem. “In the last 20 years this field of research on aging has exploded,” said Felipe Sierra, director of the division of aging biology at the US National Institute of Aging.

Singapore

IP Considerations in Singapore’s Healthcare and Medical Technologies Sector ASEAN Business News 29th Jan 2018
Underpinned by both rising disposable income and progressively aging population, Singapore offers various promising business opportunities to European SMEs engaged in healthcare and medical technologies sector, whose topnotch technology is increasingly sought after. Furthermore, Singapore’s healthcare expenditure is expected to grow about 10 percent by 2020 and the government is committed to offering better healthcare to its citizens as it has dedicated a budget of EUR 2.64 billion to developing the health and biomedical sciences sector in Singapore over the next five years.

Spending on seniors' services a 'big item' in Budget 2018 The Straits Times 26th Jan 2018
Spending on services for seniors will be a "big item'' in the upcoming Budget, Senior Minister of State for Finance Indranee Rajah said yesterday when she underlined the growing challenge of addressing the needs of Singapore's rapidly ageing population. She did not elaborate on the extent of the increase, but noted that "in the years ahead, healthcare is going to be an even bigger part of our Budget expenditure". Her comment, made at a seniors' event, comes four days after Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat indicated at a conference on ageing to expect measures that will better support seniors in the national Budget.

First Zika case of 2018 reported in Singapore Channel NewsAsia 23rd Jan 2018
After nearly four months without a reported case of Zika virus infection, the first case of 2018 was confirmed last Thursday (Jan 18).  It is also the first case since Sep 29, 2017, according to the Ministry of Health. The ministry said on Tuesday that the patient sought outpatient treatment and is recovering well. It did not respond to queries on where the infection originated and declined to provide more details on the case, citing patient confidentiality.

Finding a cure for rising costs in healthcare The Straits Times 28th Jan 2018
The health budget in two years is expected to be almost on a par with that of defence now, traditionally the biggest government spending item. Even as spending has to go up, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong maps out to Insight Singapore's strategy for keeping cost increases under control.

Changi breaks through the 2m cargo tonnes barrier in 2017 Air Cargo News 23rd Jan 2018
Singapore Changi Airport’s airfreight volumes in 2017 crossed the 2m tonnes full year threshold for the first time, as throughput grew by 7.9% to reach 2.1m tonnes. December was again the busiest month of 2017, with 188,740 tonnes of airfreight throughput, a 6.4% rise on the same period 2016. An airport spokesperson said: “Growth was observed for airfreight throughput across imports (+8%), exports (+14%) and transshipments (+4%). “The top five country markets for airfreight were China, Australia, Hong Kong, the US and India.”

Committee set up to recommend medical fee benchmarks The Straits Times 22nd Jan 2018
The Health Ministry has established a 13-member committee to come up with "reasonable" national benchmarks for medical fees. The committee members include medical doctors, academics and representatives from the Government, as well as insurance and non-profit sectors. The ministry had announced last November the plan to produce government-backed benchmarks as part of a move to keep healthcare costs in check.

Singapore's leadership 'must not become aged', renewal needed: DPM Teo Channel NewsAsia 22nd Jan 2018
A certain vitality and energy is needed to lead the county and deal with matters of the world, so Singapore's leadership must not become aged, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Monday (Jan 22). "You don't want a whole nation to be held hostage to the health of a cohort of people who are already senior and getting more and more senior with each passing year ... We need leadership renewal," said Mr Teo at Institute of Policy Studies' Singapore Perspectives 2018 Conference. He was responding to a question about senior ministers and whether there will be a larger representation of older people in Government.

Thailand

Bangkok air pollution at harmful levels Bangkok Post 25th Jan 2018
Bangkok's air pollution exceeded health safety levels on five of the last eight days, brought on by still and stagnant air, the Pollution Control Department reported on Thursday. The amount of fine particulates no more than 2.5 micrometres in diameter had exceeded the safety limit of 50 microgrammes per cubic metre of air these five days, Thaloengsak Phetsuwan, air and noise quality director of the department, said.  

PTT delves into medicine with Thailand's first cancer drug plant- Nikkei Asian Review 29th Jan 2018
PTT, Thailand's state-owned oil and gas giant, is entering into pharmaceuticals with plans to set up the country's first-ever cancer drug production plant. The company signed an agreement with the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, a state-owned drug producer and supplier under the public health ministry, on Tuesday to jointly build the plant. Thailand is trying to reduce drug imports and nurture an industry to produce high-standard drugs, in view of the fact that its population is aging at a faster rate than other developing economies in Southeast Asia. A feasibility study for the PTT project will be completed by March. Both parties estimate that total investment in the project will be around 1 billion baht ($32 million). Commercial production is set to start by 2025 at an industrial site owned by PTT in the coastal province of Rayong, east of Bangkok.

TDRI warns of soaring Bt1.4-tn annual healthcare The Nation 24th Jan 2018
The TDRI yesterday disclosed the results of a study on predicted public healthcare spending as it urged the government to plan for preventative healthcare and a health system for the elderly to reduce expenses. While revealing that healthcare costs will reach Bt1.407 trillion on average by 2032, the TDRI said that if the government does not plan ahead to contain expenses, the figure could reach Bt1.825 trillion. Nuttanan Wichitaksorn, the study’s lead researcher, said Thailand’s health expenses were rising rapidly from 10 per cent of total government spending in 2002 to 13 per cent since 2007.

Stagnant emission rules 'threaten clean air progress' Bangkok Post 18th Jan 2018
Ozone and dust particles could be the main factors worsening air pollution in Bangkok over the next decade if the government fails to raise minimum standards for vehicle fuel emissions, an air quality expert says. Standards need to be raised from the current minimum Euro 4 to Euro 5 and Euro 6, according to Supat Wangwongwattana, an air quality expert from Thammasat University's Faculty of Public Health. He was speaking at a gathering on emissions hosted by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the Department of Pollution Control and the Thailand Environment Institute.

Vietnam

Satellite hospitals save lives in remote areas vietnamnews.vn 29th Jan 2018
Historically, the mostly publicly financed health care system in Việt Nam has only been able to afford to pour resources into a handful of central level hospitals in big cities, forcing patients living in remote areas with serious diseases to go to Hà Nội or HCM City for treatment. Aside from the additional costs for transportation and living, by the time a patient has reached the central hospital, the ‘golden window’ to best treat their condition might have closed long ago.

$21m health programme launched Viet Nam News 25th Jan 2018
The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Việt Nam on Wednesday launched a new Health Co-operation Programme for 2018-2019. Under the programme, they will work side-by-side to strengthen the capacity of the health system to deliver quality and equitable health services, especially to the poor and vulnerable groups; to respond to the burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases and other public health threats; to provide quality services at the grassroots level; to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in health financing; and strengthen regulations for pharmaceuticals, vaccines and medical products to ensure better access to essential medicines and health technologies.

Health ministry launches SUN Movement in Việt Nam Vietnam News 31st Jan 2018
The Ministry of Health launched the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in the country at a ceremony on Wednesday in Hà Nội. The movement follows Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s directive on strengthening multi-sectoral collaboration on nutrition across the country. “The nutritional status of Vietnamese people is improving. Việt Nam is recognised by the international community as a spotlight in the achievement of Millennium Development Goals, especially for the continuous and sustainable reduction in the prevalence of underweight children less than five years old, from 31.9 per cent in 2001 to 13.8 per cent in 2016,” said Minister of Health Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến at the ceremony.

Hanoi targets all HIV carriers with health insurance Vietnam Plus 29th Jan 2018
Hanoi set to expand health insurance coverage to 100 percent of HIV carriers in 2018, heard a recent conference on HIV/AIDS prevention hosted by the municipal Department of Health. According to reports of the municipal Preventative Medicine Centre, the rate of HIV/AIDS infection stands at 232/100,000 people. By December 31, 2017, Hanoi recorded 19,637 HIV/AIDS cases, ranking second in the country in the number of people living with the fatal disease. The city strives to have 60 percent of HIV carriers managed and provided with antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, and 75 percent of infected people know their status in 2018.

Cancer patients breathe sigh of relief VOV 22nd Jan 2018
A nine month shortage of Glivec cancer medicine produced by the Novartis Pharma Service – AG Company (Switzerland) has eased for hundreds of patients following a Government move to allow hospitals to stock the pharmaceutical product using old import dossiers. The drugs are used by patients suffering from cancer, including chronic myelogenous leukemia and gastro-intestinal stromal tumours. However, according to hospitals, the stock of donated Glivec and Tasigna ran out in December, putting cancer patients under pressure. The shortage was due to Resolution No. 54 issued in May last year which said that permits for the importation of medicines under humanitarian aid programmes must be completed in a special manner. Novartis recently said in a petition to the ministry that it faced many obstacles preparing and completing the dossiers called for in Resolution No. 54. This brought the importation of Glivec to Vietnam to a halt.

Vietnam imports over US$2.82 billion of pharmaceuticals in 2017 VOV 18th Jan 2018
Vietnam spent in excess of US$2.82 billion importing pharmaceuticals for medical treatment and health care last year, up 10% on a year earlier at US$ 2.563 billion. The two largest pharmaceutical suppliers to Vietnam were France, at a value of US$310 million in the first 11 months of 2017 (up 1.04%), and Germany at US$292.1 million (up 37.6%). It’s noteworthy that imports from India, Vietnam’s third largest suppliers, grew exponentially to 40 times the volume of the same period in 2016. Imports from Russia swelled by 2.6 times over the previous year.