We marked an important milestone on 15 April by launching our Risk Dialogue Seminar Series with a full-day event in Shanghai. The seminar, titled Cardiovascular Health Risk Factors In China and The Implications For Insurance, saw public health experts, academics, insurers and leading experts in the medical industry coming together to discuss the serious consequences of the spiraling rates of heart disease and stroke in the country.
During the event, we shared findings from a joint study conducted with the Harvard School of Public Health. The study, called the Systematic Explanatory Analyses of Risk Factors affecting Cardiovascular Health (SEARCH) study was aimed at improving understanding about the relationship between risk factors and health outcomes in rapidly evolving countries such as China. Through the research, we found that cardiovascular disease accounts for 41% of deaths in China, and is causing financial distress.This massive disease burden has been fueled by rapid urbanisation with poor air quality in cities as well as other lifestyle factors such as smoking, physical inactivity and increased consumption of processed food replacing traditional diets.
However,insurance coverage for cardiovascular disease in China is yet to measure up to the emerging challenge. Even though more than 90% of the population is covered by the current social healthcare system, it could be overwhelmed by the demands placed by chronic conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes – all of which are on the upswing in China.
Yanping Li, research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, provided an overview of the above risk factors the challenges they pose to a limited chronic care infrastructure.
David Lu, deputy regional chief medical officer at Swiss Re,shared the financial implications of the study results on China, and riding on Li’s presentation, he stressed that chronic disease prevention needs to be a multi-sector initiative bringing together government, healthcare education, food industry and the media.
The rest of the day was filled with discussions on finding solutions to tackle the disease in a demographic that is rapidly evolving. Participants also shared their knowledge on cutting edge technology available to help prevent, detect and treat cardiovascular disease. We exchanged notes and some even brought the conversation offline to further discuss possible opportunities to manage cardiovascular health in China.
Participants concurred that prevention of chronic diseases should be elevated to a top priority for China’s national public policy because it can cut medical costs,improve quality of life, and reduce widespread health and social and inequalities in China.
Category: Funding longer lives: Health/medicine, Other
Location: Shanghai, China