Newshub - NUS' News Portal

NIHA Forum discusses issues in fighting chronic diseases in Asia

02 November 2011

Guest-of-Honour Health Minister Gan speaking at the event

(From left) Prof Fineberg and NUS-GAI Director Prof Seetharam Kallidaikurichi fielding questions from the audience

The focus on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) for this second NUS Initiative to Improve Health in Asia (NIHA) Forum is an apt and timely choice, considering the severe challenge posed by NCDs to societies. Singapore Minister for Health Mr Gan Kim Yong was speaking at the NIHA Forum themed "Combating Chronic Disease in Asia – Gaps and Innovations" organised by NUS on 1 November 2011.

Advocating a preventive approach and multi-sectoral collaboration in the fight against NCDs, Mr Gan also emphasised the need for governments to work closely with prominent academic institutions that can provide reliable data and a strong evidence base for policy and action. He noted that NIHA reflects the direction that health policies are heading in the future by integrating leadership and research to aid in the formulation of sound health policies.

On the university's efforts to tackle public health issues, NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan shared that since the last NIHA Forum, a major relevant event in NUS had been the establishment of the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health helmed by Prof Chia Kee Seng. "The formation of the School will substantially enhance the public health faculty, expertise and research base within NUS, which will in turn contribute to the growth and development of NIHA's key thrusts," said Prof Tan.

The two-day forum is attended by some 80 high-level participants including directors of health in the region, healthcare policy academics, non-governmental organisations and a panel of international healthcare policy experts. Their discussion covers innovative approaches, solutions and effective prevention of chronic diseases as well as the modelling and innovation in health systems.

Prof Harvey Fineberg, President of the Institute of Medicine, USA, gave the keynote lecture where he shared six criteria for the choices of intervention and outlined ten strategies to address chronic disease in Asia.

NIHA is coordinated by NUS-Global Asia Institute, in collaboration with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and NUS Business School. Supported by the GSK-EDB Trust Fund, NIHA is an integrative initiative set up last year to improve public health and healthcare delivery in Asia.