Mapping a global roadmap to healthy longevity

07 February 2020 | Community
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Dr. Nir Barzilai (centre), Director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, tests an exercise bike at Kampung Admiralty as the Chief Executive of NUHS Professor Yeoh Khay Guan (left) looks on together with delegates from the National Academy of Medicine, as part of the Workshop

Some 200 delegates from 16 countries convened in Singapore for a workshop to propose new ideas about what the future healthcare and public health systems should look like, in the light of the global ageing population and declining birth rates.

Health Care Systems & Public Health: A Workshop for the Global Roadmap for Healthy Longevity Initiative, held from 3 to 4 February, was spearheaded by an International Commission appointed by the US National Academy of Medicine (NAM), in partnership with NUS, the Ministry of Health’s Office for Healthcare Transformation, the National University Health System, and the National Research Foundation.

“For the first time in history, we have more people over the age of 65 than under five. Yet, instead of celebrating our extended lifespan, societies are becoming increasingly apprehensive about the impact of an ageing population. It is with this as background that the US National Academy of Medicine convened an independent international multidisciplinary Commission to create a roadmap for healthy aging and longevity,” said Co-Chair for the Global Roadmap for Healthy Longevity Commission and NUS Senior Vice President (Health Innovation & Translation) Professor John Eu-Li Wong at the opening of the event.  

This is Singapore’s first partnership with NAM, which opens up potential for meaningful collaborations to translate challenges into opportunities, said Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and Environment & Water Resources.

“We hope to gain new insights on approaches and practices that could be adopted across the entire healthcare ecosystem to benefit the seniors, as well as build a strong network of global thought leadership on ageing,” added Dr Khor.

“Singapore also looks forward to obtaining greater exposure to the international ageing research landscape, so that our local researchers, scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs, for example, can tap global networks to accelerate research, innovation and entrepreneurism in health longevity both globally and domestically.”

For the first time in history, we have more people over the age of 65 than under five. Yet, instead of celebrating our extended lifespan, societies are becoming increasingly apprehensive about the impact of an ageing population. It is with this as background that the US National Academy of Medicine convened an independent international multidisciplinary Commission to create a roadmap for healthy aging and longevity.

Enhancing the design of healthcare systems

The delegates comprised the International Commission, as well as decision makers from academia, healthcare organisations, industry, government, media and civic societies.

Over the two-day event, the delegates discussed the opportunities, and potential solutions that will enhance the design of health and long-term care systems — such as clinical services, health promotion, disease prevention services, and social care.

Following the discussions at the workshop, the International Commission will put forward actionable recommendations to spur innovation, and guide other policymakers, government and non-government organisations, the private sector, and stakeholders globally.

“I think you can say comfortably say that very few countries have made a significant progress in reducing the magnitude of all age-dependent burdens. Many countries do well in one dimension and may not do as well in another dimensions. While some countries and governments have begun to act, and started to plan for the long term, too many have not. So, our message is that preparing financially, socially and scientifically for longer lifespan is a global imperative,” said Professor Victor Dzau, President of the NAM.

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Prof Wong, who is Co-Chair of the International Commission, speaking at the event

This workshop is the second of three that the International Commission has organised. The first was held in November 2019 in Washington DC, examining the social behavioural and environmental enablers for healthy longevity. The third will be in June this year in Japan, examining the science and technology required for healthy longevity.

 

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