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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

APEC in an aging world: High Level Representatives analyze the economic impact

The 9th High-level meeting on Health and the Economy, held at Hotel Enjoy in Puerto Varas, was attended by officials from Chile, Brunei Darussalam, Chinese Taipei, Japan and Singapore.

Puerto Varas, August 20, 2019.  By 2030, 30% of the population of some APEC economies will be over the age of 65. Aging in the region and its impact on the economy is one of the topics under consideration at the 9th High-level meeting on Health and the Economy being held on August 20 and 21 in Puerto Varas.  This dialogue is taking place within the framework of the Third Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM3), which has been underway in Puerto Varas since last Thursday.

Participating in the dialogue titled “Healthy Economies in an Aging World” were the Health Ministers from Chile, Jaime Mañalich; from Brunei Darussalam, Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Md Isham bin Haji Jaafar; and from Chinese Taipei, Chih-Chung Chen. Also present were the   Chilean Undersecretaries of Health and Social Development, Paula Daza and Sebastián Villarreal; the Japanese Vice-Minister for Health, Yasuhiro Suzuki; the Singaporean Deputy Secretary for Health, Dr. Koh Khay Wee; and the Director of Senama (the Chilean National Service for the Elderly), Octavio Vergara.

The Chilean Health Minister, Jaime Mañalich, emphasized the importance of addressing the subject of aging within the APEC forum because, “we are facing an enormous challenge in light of changing demographics – which is happening at an accelerated pace in Chile. We need to find opportunities for aging better, as indicated by the name of the program directed by Chilean First Lady Cecilia Morel. And we need to implement policies that ensure access to healthcare and a higher quality of life for the aging population.”  

During the meeting, participants will debate possible measures to be taken by the 21 APEC member economies to reduce the impact of health-related threats to the economy, trade and security, as well as to strengthen health systems to increase their efficiency and responsiveness. The focus is on aging in the region and the need to design healthcare systems that take this new reality into consideration.

The Health Working Group, which has been holding meetings since August 15 and whose work will culminate with the High-Level Meeting, addressed these and other issues, such as preparedness and response to public health emergencies and disasters, including prevention and control of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.  

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