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Reducing premature deaths from cancer 

Image on reducing premature deaths

Improving cancer and non-communicable disease (NCD) outcomes in Asia Pacific was the focus of a high-level meeting jointly organised by the Cancer Council Victoria, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) earlier this year to coincide with World Cancer Day.

Bupa, an international partner of UICC, joined 29 other participants representing the cancer community, government health agencies, health policy makers, and industry at the Melbourne meeting.

With the annual number of new cancer cases projected to reach 19.3 million worldwide by 2025 5, the United Nations has recognised NCDs as a global health and development priority, setting a target of reducing premature deaths from NCDs by 25 per cent by 2025.

NCDs impose enormous costs on families, households, communities and economies and represent a major challenge to socio-economic development, environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation, according to a report by UICC.

The purpose of the meeting was to bring together stakeholders to discuss Australia and New Zealand’s respective roles in the cancer and NCD agenda in the Asia Pacific region and to establish a co-ordinated regional platform to contribute to the United Nations’ global target.

Speaking at the meeting, Bupa’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Paul Bates highlighted the importance of private public partnerships in addressing the NCD challenge.

“Tackling NCD and reducing the impact of diseases such as cancer is a huge task and will require us to harness our collective resources, skills and energy to achieve,” said Dr Bates.

5 Union for International Cancer Control Advocacy Toolkit 2014.

Mobile health advances 

Image mobile health initiatives

Mobile and wireless technologies have the potential to transform the face of health service delivery across the globe, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO and ITU are spearheading a push to harness mobile technology, in particular text messaging and apps, to help combat chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory diseases through their Be He@lthy Be Mobile Initiative.

The Be He@lthy Be Mobile initiative is currently working with the governments of the United Kingdom, Norway, Senegal, Zambia, Philippines and Costa Rica to run mHealth programmes in the areas of diabetes, hypertension, smoking cessation, wellness and cervical cancer.

Bupa is partnering with Be He@lthy Be Mobile and supporting, in particular, the mDiabetes, mWellness, mCessation, and mHypertension programmes.

"Technological innovations, such as mHealth, are changing disease prevention and control and offer solutions that are cost-effective, scalable and sustainable," explains Bupa's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Paul Bates.

WHO's Dr Angela Pratt presented the Bupa keynote "Be He@lthy Be Mobile: How mobile technology can help address the global NCD epidemic" at the recent national conference of the Australian Disease Management Association.

"Mobile telephone technology has the potential to help save lives, reduce illness and disability, and lower health care costs significantly," Dr Pratt told delegates.

"The aim of the Be He@lthy Be Mobile initiative is to provide evidence-based and operational guidance to encourage partners worldwide, especially governments, to implement national mobile health interventions to address prevention and treatment of chronic conditions.

"These aspirations and plans are just as relevant to the developed world as the developing world, and the momentum for these initiatives is growing," added Dr Pratt.

Health informatics for informed decision-making 

Image on health informatics

Technological advances offer exciting new opportunities to empower individuals to maintain their health and to make informed decisions about their health and care.

Dr Danny Sands presenting at HISA’s annual conference

That’s why Bupa has been supporting the Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) for the past two years to improve heath care through technology and innovation.

In April, Bupa was Gold Sponsor of HISA’s Big Data two-day conference, which explored big data in biomedicine and health care, and hosted the Australian visit by USA’s Dr Bern Shen, Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder of HealthCrowd, an end-to-end health care engagement platform. Dr Shen, a leading global expert in engaging consumers in health via digital technologies, presented a keynote on how big data analytics can be used to understand and influence health behaviour.

At HISA’s annual conference in August, Bupa also hosted the visit of USA’s Dr Danny Sands, Co-founder and Chair of the Society for Participatory Medicine. Dr Sands presented a keynote on ‘The power of ‘e’ in the patient-physician relationship’ and emphasised the health benefits of greater involvement of the patient in his or her own care.