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ASEAN Conference to Help Address Issues and Challenges of Aging in the Region

The first ASEAN Conference on Healthy Aging has opened in Sarawak, Malaysia, and will run Oct. 10-12. The conference, organized by the Malaysian Healthy Aging Society, in collaboration with the Sarawak Convention Bureau, is aimed to help address the issues and challenges of rapidly aging populations in the region. 

The conference’s theme, “Aging: Challenges, Successes and the Journey Ahead,” has drawn clinicians from various disciplines, allied health professionals, the legal fraternity, financial institutions, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, policy makers, and housing developers to attend the three day conference that will include plenaries, workshops, forums and symposia in its scientific program.

Populations in Asia are aging faster than any other region. Between 2015 and 2034, the older population is forecast to grow by about 22 percent every five years in East Asia. According to the Live Long and Prosper: Aging in East Asia and Pacific report, by 2060, one of five of the world’s oldest countries will be in East Asia compared to just one in 25 in 2010.

“Managing the issues and challenges of aging effectively will require a holistic approach” says Professor Nathan Vytialingam, (pictured above) organizing chairman of the ASEAN Conference on Healthy Aging. The professor is also on the advisory council of the Global Coalition on Aging and is an advisor of the Malaysian Healthy Aging Society.

“The ASEAN Conference on Healthy Aging will be an ideal platform for stakeholders in the region to gather and discuss these issues and challenges so that the right preparations, policies and framework can be put in place in advance to help prepare their nations for the impact of ageing populations” says Vytialingam, adding, “This conference will also be an opportune time for stakeholders, in particular healthcare and allied health professionals to meet, network, share knowledge and update themselves on the latest developments in their fields of practice.”

The conference boasts an extensive scientific program that will include lectures, symposia and forums covering age-related illnesses, stress management, addictions and substance abuse, sustainability of retirement and financial health, mental health, adolescent mental health, nutrition, the benefits of exercise and ethico-legal issues at end of life. The program will also include sessions on complementary and alternative medicine.

On the last day of the conference, a consensus will be drawn up on the issues and challenges of aging faced by the region and a report will be forwarded to the respective ministries.

Key speakers at the conference include Dato’ Mahadev Shanker, former Court of Appeal Judge, Malaysia; Professor Tri Budi W. Rahardjo, a professor in gerontology, Universitas Indonesia; Emeritus Professor Takeo Ogawa, president of the Asian Aging Business Centre, Japan; Marilyn Pattison, president, World Federation of Occupational Therapy; Dr. Vaikunthan Rajaratnam, senior consultant Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery, Singapore; and Professor Phyo Myint, chair in Old Age Medicine, University of Aberdeen.

CME points will be awarded to all healthcare professionals for attending and the conference is 100 percent HRDF-SBL claimable. For more info, visit www.acha2017.com.

Formed in 2002, the Malaysian Healthy Aging Society’s primary objective is to create public awareness for the enhancement of quality of life. MHAS aims to increase vigilance among the community about the impact of longevity and aging population on individuals and society if not addressed. MHAS also provides information to empower consumers to make informed choices about health programs based on data from scientific studies. MHAS organizes programs to inform physicians, scientists and members of the public on advancement in medical sciences and biomedical technology to detect, prevent and treat age-related disease. In 2012, MHAS took the lead role in organizing the first World Congress on Healthy Aging in Kuala Lumpur. The success of the conference attracted South Africa to host the second World Congress on Healthy Aging in 2015. A third Congress is now being planned to be held in Turkey in 2018.

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