"Today's sedentary lifestyles and physical inactivity are major factors contributing to the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Thailand, both significant risk factors for diabetes. Obesity can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by over sevenfold, while being overweight triples the risk. Adults aged 30-69 have the highest diabetes mortality rate in Thailand, followed by those over 70. As Thailand becomes an aging society—with the elderly population expected to reach approximately 14.4 million by 2025 and one in five seniors suffering from diabetes—the need for effective healthcare strategies is more pressing than ever.
At the 'Celebration of 100-Year Danish Contribution to Sustainable Healthcare Globally and Thailand's Path to Sustainable Diabetes & Obesity Care,' H.E. Mr. Jon Thorgaard, Ambassador of Denmark to Thailand, highlighted the crucial role of public-private partnerships in tackling complex health issues like diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases. The Danish Embassy serves as a vital link, fostering long-lasting partnerships with Thai counterparts to ensure the continued success of these collaborative efforts, thus guaranteeing access to sustainable, high-quality healthcare for Thais and future generations. The event's opening ceremony was chaired by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cherdchai Tontisirin, Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Public Health, with Prof. Wichai Aekplakorn, Head of Community Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, addressing the challenges of sustainable diabetes and obesity care.
The 400-year relationship between Denmark and Thailand includes significant cooperation in healthcare. As a global healthcare leader, Novo Nordisk has made substantial contributions to healthcare systems worldwide, including innovative diabetes care, marking its 100th anniversary this year and underscoring the Danish corporate culture’s dedication to healthcare and sustainability, encompassing economic, social, and environmental considerations.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cherdchai Tontisirin remarked, "I am honoured to celebrate Denmark's century-long commitment to sustainable healthcare and the pivotal role of partnerships in addressing global health challenges, which are immediate priorities. The Thai government is committed to enhancing the '30 baht' universal healthcare scheme to provide fundamental welfare for all citizens. With the number of Thai diabetes patients increasing by approximately 100,000 annually and those with NCDs rising by about 300,000 each year, there is a growing strain on the national budget. Therefore, emphasis should be placed on collaboration across all sectors, primarily focusing on preventative measures over treatment, and promoting overall well-being to foster a healthier society for Thai citizens throughout their lives. The Ministry of Public Health welcomes and seeks cooperation with the private sector to tackle this issue and alleviate long-term financial burdens. I firmly believe in the adage, 'There is no wealth without health.'"
Prof. Dr. Wichai Aekplakorn discussed the global rise in diabetes and obesity, predicting that by 2030, there will be one billion people with obesity, predominantly in low- and middle-income countries. In Thailand, diabetes accounts for approximately 66,000 deaths annually. One in ten Thais has diabetes, and one in three remains undiagnosed. This epidemic also significantly impacts the economy, costing over 375 trillion baht, or 2.2% of the GDP. Improving public knowledge and awareness is crucial, as is fostering collaboration among all stakeholders (government, private sector, and communities) and expanding inclusive access to treatment.
Mr. Enrico Cañal Bruland, VP & General Manager of Novo Nordisk Pharma (Thailand) Ltd, in his keynote speech ‘The Century-Long Journey of Danish Contribution to Sustainable Healthcare,’ emphasised the company's commitment to innovation and research. Novo Nordisk has been at the forefront of developing new treatments and therapies for diabetes and other chronic diseases, highlighting the importance of collaboration with healthcare professionals, patients, and governments to create a sustainable healthcare system that effectively addresses these global health challenges.
The Company is dedicated to developing products and services that help patients effectively manage diabetes and obesity. We are committed to working with public and private sectors to promote best practices in disease prevention and management, supporting research and development to innovate in healthcare, and improving patients’ quality of life. Innovation is at the heart of our business and has been a key driver of sustainability for the past 100 years. Rising rates of obesity and diabetes threaten the health and prosperity of future generations. Medicines alone cannot solve these challenges, so we are working in partnerships globally to drive change through integrated treatment solutions and prevention wherever possible.
In Thailand, Novo Nordisk has been operating for 40 years, bringing innovative products and treatment solutions to the country. We are committed to improving the quality of life for patients through continuous product development and clinical research. Given that obesity is a major issue leading to over 200 other diseases, it should be a high priority to prevent future healthcare burdens, both direct and indirect, to ensure sustainable healthcare for future generations.