NUMed hosts expert Channel NewsAsia Panel
Asia is undergoing one of the most profound demographic shifts the world has ever seen. By the middle of this century, the number of people aged over 65 is expected to rise from 300 million currently to around 1 billion across the region. To put that in context, that is approximately the combined population of the whole of Europe and the United States.
With the elderly being more prone to health risks, caring for them has become a key focus area for governments and policymakers. Increasingly, educational institutions are also playing a key role on this front. The UK’s Newcastle University is one of the leading institutions that has been focusing on research in this area. The University’s Iskandar Campus, Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed), recently hosted a panel discussion conducted by Channel NewsAsia on the topic of “Caring for Ageing Asia” for its Perspectives series.
The esteemed panel consisted of; Dr Jeyaindran Tan Sri Sinnadurai, Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Health Malaysia, Carol Yip, CEO of Aged Care Group Sdn Bhd, Chin Wei Jia, Group CEO of Health Management International Ltd and Professor Louise Robinson, Director at Newcastle University Institute for Ageing and Professor of Primary Care and Ageing.
Channel NewsAsia’s Presenter, Teymoor Nabili, led the discussion as a range of topics from retirement ages to the financials costs of care were debated. A member of the audience raised the issue of improving the mental health care of the elderly and cited Newcastle University’s leading research on dementia. Professor Louise Robinson responded by saying that the challenge was that too much funding was directed towards curing dementia as opposed to preventing it. She explained that Newcastle University’s research showed a trend of healthy living contributed to a healthy mind, thereby slowing down the effects of dementia.
Professor Louise Robinson commented: “It was an honour to participate in the Ageing Asia debate and hopefully bring some insights from my personal research to the discussion.”
Her views were echoed by other panellists. They agreed there should be an emphasis on educating the young to lead a healthy lifestyle. Dr Jeya stated that a priority for the Ministry of Health was to “ensure that every Malaysian can age healthily”. He added that “if treatment was needed then they will get the best possible care at the best price”.
The panel debated the role of government, private sector and family in caring for the elderly. The experts argued that in order to provide the best care the three should work together, pushing for a joined up efforts for the care of the elderly.
The discussion ended with a question from a NUMed student asking the panel what would be their message of hope to the elderly. Carol Yip encouraged the elderly to be mentally healthy saying that “you can be elderly but do not need to be old.” Chin Wei Jia said there was a need to take a look at the terminology used for the elderly, suggesting that they should be referred to as the golden generation as opposed to the greying generation.
It was the largest ever turnout for the series, NUMed’s theatre was filled to the brim with people wanting to watch the live recording of the programme. Channel NewsAsia’s Senior Editor, Augustine Anthuvan, exclaimed: “Every space is taken up, including the steps”. NUMed staff and students were joined by members of the audience who had travelled from Singapore and from all over Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur.
“Newcastle University works with a variety of partners to better address the global challenge and opportunity of an ageing society, so we were glad to bring together experts from across the globe to discuss caring for the aging. Newcastle University aims to be a global leader in ageing research and innovation and is already known for helping to raise the profile of ageing as one of the major issues facing communities worldwide. We were honoured to host Channel NewAsia’s Perspectives at NUMed,” said Professor Reg Jordan, NUMed Provost and CEO.
Newcastle University UK, has established an international branch campus in Johor, Malaysia to provide its undergraduate degrees in Medicine (MB BS) and the Biomedical Sciences (BSc), and opportunities for postgraduate study. The programmes of study are equivalent to those of Newcastle’s UK-based provision, and lead to the award of the same degrees. By choosing to study at NUMed Malaysia, students will obtain a reputable UK qualification, from an internationally recognized university, at a cost significantly less than that of studying in the UK. The undergraduate Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MB BS) degrees were launched in 2009 and BSc degrees in the Biomedical Sciences were launched in 2013. Both programmes offer opportunities for periods of study in the UK.
published on: 13 April 2016