In recent times, the sedentary lifestyles that many of us lead have significantly contributed to increased rates of obesity and overweight issues in Thailand. These are notable factors that raise the risk of diabetes. For instance, a sevenfold increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes is associated with obesity, and the risk is tripled in overweight individuals. The grim reality is that adults between the ages of 30 and 69 bear the highest diabetes mortality rate in Thailand. Considering Thailand’s aging society—where, predictions suggest, the elderly population could touch approximately 14.4 million by 2025 and every fifth senior suffering from diabetes—it’s evident that effective healthcare strategies are needed now more than ever.
A celebration titled ‘A Century of Danish Contribution to Sustainable Healthcare Globally and the Move Toward Sustainable Diabetes & Obesity Care in Thailand’ took place recently. During the event, H.E. Mr. Jon Thorgaard, the Danish Ambassador to Thailand, brought to light the indispensable role of public-private partnerships in combating complex health issues, including diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases. Serving as a critical facilitator, the Danish Embassy has nurtured long-standing collaborations with Thai counterparts to ensure the longevity and success of such partnerships. The goal, ultimately, is to secure access to sustainable, superior healthcare for the Thai population and future generations. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cherdchai Tontisirin, Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Public Health, and Prof. Wichai Aekplakorn, Head of Community Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, were among the key speakers at the opening ceremony of the event.
The healthcare domain has seen extensive cooperation between Denmark and Thailand, a relationship that spans four centuries. Danish healthcare leader, Novo Nordisk, has made a profound impact on global healthcare systems, including pioneering diabetes care solutions. A testimony to this is their centennial celebration this year, underscoring the Danish corporate culture’s commitment to healthcare, sustainability, and the tri-pillars of economy, society, and environment.
Dr. Cherdchai Tontisirin voiced his honor over Denmark’s unwavering commitment to sustainable healthcare and the pivotal role partnerships play in addressing global health issues. There’s an urgent requirement for actions in these priorities, as per Dr. Tontisirin. Meanwhile, Thailand sees pressure on its national budget due to a yearly increase of approximately 100,000 diabetes patients and about 300,000 individuals diagnosed with NCDs. Resources must focus on preventative measures rather than treatments to enhance overall well-being and promote a healthier society. The Ministry of Public Health is eager to collaborate with private entities to mitigate this issue and relieve long-term financial burdens.
Prof. Dr. Wichai Aekplakorn shed light on the escalating global trend in diabetes and obesity rates. By 2030, projections place the count of obese individuals at one billion, primarily in countries with low to middle income. Shockingly, in Thailand, diabetes claims roughly 66,000 lives every year. One in ten Thais has diabetes, and one in three is undiagnosed. The epidemic is leaving its mark on the economy as well, costing more than 375 trillion baht, equivalent to 2.2% of the GDP. Various stakeholders – the government, private sectors, and communities – must come together to boost public knowledge levels and make healthcare inclusive and accessible.
Mr. Enrico Cañal Bruland, VP & General Manager of Novo Nordisk Pharma (Thailand) Ltd, underscored the company’s commitment to pioneering new treatments and therapies for diabetes and other chronic diseases in his keynote speech titled ‘The Century-Long Journey of Danish Contribution to Sustainable Healthcare.’ The company emphasizes the importance of collaboration with healthcare professionals, patients, and governments to create a sustainable healthcare system that effectively addresses these major global health issues.
In Thailand, Novo Nordisk has been operational for 40 years, bringing innovative products and treatment solutions to the table. The company is dedicated to continuous product development and clinical research improvement to foster the patients’ quality of life. As obesity often leads to over 200 other diseases, preventing it should be a high priority to evade future healthcare burdens and ensure sustainable healthcare for the generations to come.