Welcoming a new AAL member: Taiwan

The AAL Programme is happy to welcome a new member, Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology, thus becoming our first member from Asia!

We can see that the challenges and opportunities provided by the demographic change is seen as an increasingly important on the country agendas throughout the world. By welcoming new members from outside Europe, we not only gain new perspectives, but also help to establish coalitions across continents.

The demographic change is truly a global phenomenon, and with the upcoming WHO Decade on Ageing, we see the potential for major steps in creating a worldwide discussion and reaction plan to the suspected changes in ensuring that health systems and economies stay sustainable. 

Mr. Chin-Chun Tsai, the Director of Science and Technology Division at Taipei Representative Office in the European Union and Belgium underlined these developments in an interview with the AAL Programme.

How is Taiwan preparing for the demographic changes in society? Do you think it is important for your society?

At the end of March 2018, Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior announced that Taiwan has officially entered the stage of an “aged society” as Taiwanese people over 65 years old accounted for 14.05% of the country’s total population, which means one out of every seven people in the country is a senior citizen.

By 2026, Taiwan will become a super-aged society where at least 20 percent of the population are 65 or older and the island's total population figure would start to decline before it reached 24 million. The demographic changes in Taiwan are rapid and severe.

To face this problem, Taiwan has promoted National Ten-year Long-term Care program (LTC Plan 1.0, 2008-2017, Plan 2.0, 2018-2027) under the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW). The goal of LTC 2.0 is to create a comprehensive care system that integrates medical care, LTC services, housing, prevention, and social assistance to allow people with disability to receive the care they need within a 30-minute drive. There are three tiers, A-Community integrated service center, B- Combined service center, C- LTC stations around the blocks. In order to improve the health of all citizens, Taiwan began to implement universal health insurance to provide medical services since 1995.

What would you like to achieve by participating in the AAL Programme as a member?

In Taiwan, the are various  the Research institutes specialized on this topic, such as Gerontechnology Research Center (Yuan Ze University), Institute of Gerontology, Medical Device Innovation Center (National Cheng Kung University) and a Geriatric Hospital built in Tainan.

Many research programs supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), such as Telehealth Center (National Taiwan University Hospital), which provides 24-hour, personalized care to patients over remote monitoring and care platform, such as automated ECG interpretation reading system that incorporates artificial intelligence technology.

Moreover, there is an Ageing Well Service Model in Yujing(a rural area) (Medical device innovation center NCKU). By using wi-fi and surveillance camera, the staff in the center can interact with the community to provide assistance and collect data for further investigations.

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) produce medical equipment and devices in Science Park. The HsinChu Science Park leads the medical equipment manufacturers, such as high-quality manufacturers Jinhong Technology, Titanium Biology, Guangyu Biomedical, Purson, and Wangbei Technology, etc., to form a cluster for providing medical supplies.

However, the linking in between the sectors is weak, especially to the end users. Taiwan as the AAL member, participating the Programme calls and collaborating with variety of partners with other AAL members should be helpful and enable Taiwan to link the different sectors.

What is, in your opinion, the most important innovation that governments need to put in place to improve ageing policies and tackle an ageing society?

To integrate the SMEs into the Long-term Care 2.0 is important for Taiwan. The three tiers in LTC 2.0 are a generalized manpower service to the end users. To promote health and wealth among older adults through the use of sophisticated technologies, artificial intelligence, the research institutes, and hospitals is our first priority.

Interested in cooperation with Taiwan? You are welcome to contact Taiwanese national contact person by writing an e-mail to Mrs. Ching-Mei Tang from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST):

Email: cmtom@most.gov.tw

Phone number : +886-2-2737-7557

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