The APAC CVD Alliance hosted a webinar on 28 November 2023 titled “Inspiring cohesive action to tackle cardiovascular disease in Asia”, which launched the Alliance’s report and featured speakers from across the care continuum. Attended by 95 participants across the region, the multidisciplinary audience consisted of patients, healthcare professionals, academia, nonprofits, policymakers and the private sector.
Introducing the report, Dr Krishna Reddy, President, ACCESS Health International (Asia) highlighted that the report and its recommendations were the starting point to inform regional and national CVD policies, strategies, and plans. Moving forward, the Alliance will also continue to generate evidence to answer specific questions in discussions between diverse CVD stakeholders across the care continuum. Calling for a cohesive national CVD strategy in each Asia-Pacific country, the report highlights that health ministries, central and subnational governments must collaborate, while health systems must think of CVD control as an integrated pathway from primary to tertiary care. All strategies must prioritize three outcomes:
- Reduce preventable deaths;
- Reduce hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations, and
- Slow growth in new CVD patients.
Dr Cherian Varghese, Coordinator (Noncommunicable Diseases and Determinants) from the World Health Organization South-East Asia Regional Office gave the keynote address focusing on CVD control in the region and the WHO SEA HEARTS program.
A case study of Thailand’s CVD control initiatives, challenges and opportunities facing the health system was chaired by Dr Amporn Benjaponpitak, Director-General, Department of Medical Services, Ministry of Public Health. Thailand’s engagement of patients, civil society, healthcare professionals, and emphasis on primary care, universal health coverage is a model for other upper-middle income countries.
A panel discussion rounded off the webinar with Neil Johnson, Executive Director, Global Heart Hub, A/P Dr Suphot Srimahachota, President, The Heart Association of Thailand, Dr Raja Ezman Raja Shariff, Head of Heart Failure Service, Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia, and Dr Jasper Tromp, Assistant Professor, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health. Moderated by Ed Harding, Managing Director, The Health Policy Partnership; the panel highlighted the need to:
- Ensure a patient- and citizen- centered approach in tackling CVD;
- Rethink our misconceptions of CVD as only affecting those in old age or as purely a “lifestyle” disease – rather, it can strike at any age and is caused by many other factors;
- Importance of policy to encourage sustainable innovations and investments in primary, tertiary and secondary care that result in long-term change;
- Data availability as the most critical to assessing the CVD burden, designing interventions, and financing.
Download a summary of the report here.
The full recording of the webinar can be viewed below.