See complete blog post and images of the Summit on the APCO website
Leading bone experts from the Asia Pacific convened in Singapore on December 10, 2022 for the Asia Pacific Consortium on Osteoporosis (APCO) Scientific Summit, to further their vision of reducing the burden of osteoporosis and fragility fractures in the world’s most populous and fastest ageing region. It marked APCO’s first ‘physical’ Summit since May 2019 when the organisation was launched. APCO members, representing 19 Asia Pacific countries and regions, heard from a host of eminent speakers, including the Summit’s Guest of Honour, Singapore’s Minister for Health, Mr Ong Ye Kung.
The Scientific Summit garnered significant attention in news media prior to the event, with an interview on Channel News Asia-Singapore Tonight of APCO Executive Committee Chairperson, Professor Manju Chandran, Singapore, and APCO Executive Committee member and Chief Executive Officer of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), Dr Philippe Halbout, Switzerland. The interview afforded an opportunity for the leading osteoporosis experts to share insights, and reflect on APCO’s vision and mission.
According to Prof. Chandran, Senior Consultant Endocrinologist and Director, Osteoporosis and Bone Metabolism Unit, Singapore General Hospital, “A perfect storm of a rise in osteoporosis among Asia Pacific populations is expected to occur due to the region’s rapidly aging population, mounting urbanisation, and subsequent increase in sedentary lifestyles.”
“Unless urgent steps are taken, we will be facing an epidemic of osteoporotic fractures that could have been avoided through appropriate preventive measures, early diagnosis, and treatment."
“APCO members are charged with developing tangible solutions to the challenges facing osteoporosis management in the world’s most populous, linguistically, and culturally diverse region. Our committed group of 46 osteoporosis experts representing 19 countries and regions, are confident we can counter these challenges, if armed with support from local governments, policy makers, healthcare providers, philanthropic organisations, pharmaceutical companies, and other stakeholders from both the private and public healthcare sectors throughout the region,” said Dr Chandran.
As one of several speakers at the Summit, IOF CEO Dr Philippe Halbout stated, “Given the Asia Pacific region will bear the brunt of osteoporotic fractures over the next few decades, the IOF recognises urgent action is required to stem this tide. It is for this reason, that we continue to lend strong support to APCO – an organisation that in little more than three years, has achieved significant milestones in its fight against the silent disease that is osteoporosis.”
“The APCO Summit therefore, represents an ideal opportunity for representatives from multiple countries in the Asia Pacific, to come together, to share experiences, and to brainstorm ideas to tackle this monumental, escalating public health issue.”
The afternoon of the Summit was devoted to a Co-Creation workshop facilitated by Access Health International, South East Asia, that aimed to build on the momentum generated through the Consortium’s accomplishments in 2022, by converging APCO members in the unique hybrid setting of the Summit. The workshop engaged APCO members around a common goal of identifying gaps in osteoporosis care in the Asia Pacific, and co-creating solutions to minimise the burden of osteoporosis in the region. The workshop saw the members engage in lively and interactive discussions, that not only helped to identify the challenges they faced while implementing APCO’s mission of engaging with policymakers, health care providers and the public over the last three and a half years since the organisation’s inception, but also served to refine APCO’s project roadmaps for 2023, and beyond, and to elucidate, through the generation of concrete and actionable strategic plans, projects for the Consortium to consider taking forward.
APCO Summit recommendations to address the projected growing burden of osteoporosis and fractures in the Asia Pacific focused on:
- Education and training of healthcare professionals;
- Quality improvement and secondary fracture prevention;
- Prioritising the prevention of musculoskeletal disease at a policy level;
- Enhancing research to amass evidence;
- Improving diagnosis and treatment accessibility and reimbursement;
- Creating national prevention programs; and
- Heightening public awareness and patient support.
Dr Chandran concluded the APCO Summit by stating that it had afforded the organisation “direction regarding the various challenges faced by our individual members, and how we should proceed in the coming years”. She encouraged the APCO members to continue to demonstrate their commitment to the cause of osteoporosis, stating “You have been hand-picked for APCO based on your expertise, history and commitment to musculoskeletal diseases, and because your voices are extremely important.”