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Digital Remedies for Healthcare in the New Normal


Macmillan Cancer Support in the UK has warned of a potential “ticking cancer timebomb” as care for cancer has been held back. Cancer Research UK has estimated that 2.4 million people are waiting for cancer screening, treatment or tests in the UK. The challenge is similar in ASEAN. This conversation will provide insight into the challenges healthcare systems in the region are facing, with a focus on non-communicable disease (NCD) care, and a discussion on collaborative solutions between governments and the private sector.

This Digital Conversation is brought to you by the UK-ASEAN Business Council and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council in partnership with AstraZeneca.


In Southeast Asia, the ageing population is expected to see new cancer cases reach 1.3 million by 2030. The burden on the region is heavy both in terms of life and cost. One study found that 75 per cent of cancer patients either succumbed or suffered significant financial costs within one year of the diagnosis. Those in disadvantaged groups in low and middle-income countries with weaker safety nets suffer the most.

In times of crisis, the challenge is accentuated with healthcare systems in the UK and Southeast Asia having to make tough decisions to balance the demands of COVID-19 and maintaining the delivery of NCD health services. There is a need for tangible, actionable solutions.

The WHO says successfully delivering strong, agile NCD care under these trying circumstances will require the active collaboration between public and private stakeholders. It is pivotal that the successful integration of solutions is in concert with healthcare ecosystem partners, including government, healthcare institutions and industry. Best practice sharing is important to create a critical mass of shared purpose and swift implementation.

The aims of the dialogue are to raise awareness about the importance of strong, agile NCD care during COVID-19 and to discuss practical approaches for government and industry to collaborate on key solutions to NCD care challenges during and beyond COVID-19.

Areas of Discussion

  • What has the impact been on non-communicable disease healthcare due to COVID-19?
  • How can we treat cancer in the age of COVID-19?
  • How are AI and big data transforming medical care?
  • How can governments and the private sector collaborate better?


Welcome remarks by

  • Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, Chair – UKABC
  • Dr Doan Duy Khuong, Chair – ASEAN BAC

Keynote address by Assoc. Prof. Dr Nguyen Truong Son, Deputy Minister of Health, Vietnam

Panel Discussion on Strengthening NCD Care in Southeast Asia

How has the crisis impacted NCD care in the region? What needs to be done to enable healthcare systems to respond better? What is the role of technology in healthcare?

  • Dr Feisul Idzwan Mustapha, Deputy Director for Non-Communicable Diseases for Disease Control, Ministry of Health, Malaysia 
  • Dr Tran Thi Giang Huong, Director, Division of Programmes for Disease Control, World Health Organisation
  • Dr Harpreet Sood, Board Member, DigitalHealth.London
  • Jo Feng, Senior Vice President for Asia Area, AstraZeneca
  • Prof Richard Hobbs, Head of Department, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford

Further Reading

Coronavirus: ‘More than two million’ waiting for cancer care in the UK. BBC

ASEAN Costs In Oncology “Cancer and its economic impact on households in the ASEAN countries” (ACTION) study. The George Institute

The widespread impact of cancer on Southeast Asia. The ASEAN Post

How Technology Is Helping Cancer Patients Manage. Forbes

Maintaining essential health services: operational guidance for the COVID-19 context. WHO

Affordable and accessible healthcare in Asia. Prudential


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