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AI for Good Global Summit

Information Session on Healthy Aging in Thailand through ICT

​​​​Background

Thailand is currently navigating a significant demographic transformation characterized by an aging population. This shift is also influencing the distribution of socio-economic needs. With a population nearing 70 million, Thailand has made remarkable strides in socio-economic development, evidenced by an increase in life expectancy from 63 in 1978 to 79 years[1] in 2021 and a substantial rise in GDP per capita. However, the country now faces the challenge of integrating its growing older population, which currently constitutes about 17% of the total population and is expected to rise significantly by 2040.

The past few years, particularly the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has witnessed a rapid surge in digital adoption. This has led to a significant shifts in how society leverages emerging technologies, emphasizing the importance of digital inclusion and digital skills. However, this digital transformation has not been uniformly experienced across all population groups, with the elderly amongst being left behind. In developing countries like Thailand, this disparity is often influenced by individual resources and social classifications.

​In the context, the aging population in Thailand needs to be supported not only in terms of health but also in terms of their active participation in society. Digital inclusion is recognized as a crucial determinant of healthy ageing[2]. It encompasses not just access to internet and mobile networks, but also the digital skills required to effectively use these technologies and the policies that promote their adoption. Recognising this, ITU-WHO mAgeing programme was introduced in 2018 to provide integrated, digitally-enabled services focusing on health and well-being, public services, and cyber safety. This programme is designed to empower older people to manage their health, access public services, and use digital technology safely and effectively.

Juntendo University's embarked on Digitally Inclusive, Healthy Ageing Communities (DIHAC) study, to explore how digital inclusion can support healthy ageing. The study are conducted in countries like Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Thailand, which aims to shape a digitally inclusive future for older adults.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in collaboration with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES), is organising an virtual information session, in partnership with Juntendo University, with the aims to raise awareness on these issues, foster understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the intersection of digital inclusion and healthy ageing and collaboration amongst relevant stakeholders, bringing together national stakeholders, including the Ministry, academia, and UN agencies, to support the older population in Thailand in this digital age. The discussion will focus not only on sharing insights from Juntendo University's research but also on what is being done among participating agencies and what the data tells us. This collaborative approach is important in developing a strategy based on evidence.


References:
[1] World Bank- Life expectancy at birth- https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.LE00.IN?locations=TH
[2]Digitally Inclusive, Healthy Ageing Communities- https://digital-ageing.com/digital-inclusion/​​


OBJECTIVE OF THE INFORMATION SESSION

The purpose of this information session is to gain insight on support the aging population in Thailand through digital inclusion. Specific objectives are as follows: 

  1. To understand and examine the demographic trends and challenges faced by aging population in Thailand
  2. To understand the role of ICT in promoting healthy ageing and digital inclusion among the older population in Thailand.
  3. To engage and facilitate a dialogue amongst relevant agencies to understand the needs and challenges faced by the older population in the context of digital inclusion and healthy ageing in Thailand

Agenda

Time​Agenda
14:00-14:15

Welcoming remarks

  • ​Ms Atsuko Okuda, Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific
  • Dr Olivia Corazon Nieveras, Acting WHO Representative to Thailand
  • ​Dr. Nattapon Nattasomboon, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES)​
Group Photo
14:15-15:15

Session 1: Thailand’s Aging Demographics and ICT’s Role in Empowering the Older Persons in Different Cultures​
Presentation by Dr. Myo Nyein Aung, Associate Professor, Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan.[Bio]

Q&A Session

15:15-16:15

Session 3: Panel Discussion on Strategies for Digital Inclusion – Healthy Aging in Thailand

Moderator: Dr. Myo Nyein Aung, Associate Professor, Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan.

Panellist:​

  1. Dr Natthapong Kunthawong, Director, the Bureau of Elderly Health, Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Public Health (MOPH)[Bio]
  2. Miss Kobkul Kwuangsuan, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security[Bio]
  3. Dr. Weerasak Putthasri, Senior Advisor, The National Health Commission Office (NHCO)[Bio]
  4. Ms. Suchana Sinthavathavorn, Vice President, Quality of Life and Security Development and Promotion Department, Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA)​[Bio]
  5. Dr.Thanakrit Chintavara, First Executive Vice President, Special Affairs Big Data Institute (BDI)[Bio]
  6. Dr Amrita Kansal, Technical Officer (Healthy Ageing), WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia[Bio]
  7. Dr. Katikar Tipayalai, Lecturer, Chulalongkorn University[Bio]​

Q&A Session with Panellist & Representative from Juntendo University

16:15-16:30

Way Forward by ITU and Closing Remarks

​Ms. Atsuko Okuda, Regional Director for ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific