Weekly Asian Medical News Bulletin – 17 November 2023

weekly asian medical news bulletin

Medical Channel Asia presents the weekly Asian medical news bulletin, bringing you essential healthcare news from across the region. This week’s bulletin covers traditional medicine education in Singapore and universal healthcare in Thailand.


Starting January 8, Thais in Phrae, Roi-et, Phetchaburi, and Narathiwat can access free medical services at selected hospitals using only their ID cards. This is Phase I of a universal healthcare program initiated by Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew and will be officially launched by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. The program, budgeted at 217 billion baht, will roll out in additional provinces in March and April, aiming for nationwide coverage within a year. Migrant workers can also access the program with passports or social security cards. The average coverage per Thai national is Bt3,472.24. The program’s implementation awaits parliamentary approval but won’t affect budget disbursement.


A recent study predicts that by 2040, Malaysia will see its kidney failure patient count double to 106,000, costing the healthcare system RM3.2 billion. Almost 9,000 new patients require dialysis annually, a trend driven primarily by diabetes and hypertension linked to unhealthy lifestyles. The National Kidney Foundation and experts highlight the urgent need for early screening, lifestyle changes, and government policies promoting healthier choices to address this growing health concern.

Also reported this week:

Diabetes in Malaysia Affecting Children & Teenagers


The Philippines’ COVID-19 vaccination database, managed by WHO, was reportedly hacked, risking personal data leaks. The breach exposed sensitive information like names, addresses, and medical histories. This incident, potentially more significant than previous cyberattacks in the country, poses risks of identity theft and financial fraud. Experts advise regular password updates and multi-factor authentication to enhance cybersecurity.

Also reported this week:

The Philippines Launches Mental Health Caravan “Biyaheng Kalusugan”

Phillipines’ Department of Health To Vaccinate 200,000 Bicol Senior Ctizens

The Philippines’ Education & Health Ministries Initiate Health Program For Safety & Health of Filipino Children


Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore will introduce a new undergraduate degree in Chinese medicine beginning in 2024. This program is the first of its kind in Singapore, accredited by the Ministry of Health’s Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board. It aims to enhance Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) education, combining modern and traditional methods, and includes practical training. Additionally, a new one-year clinical training program for new TCM practitioners will commence in January.

Also reported this week:

New NUS Research Hub Targets Asian Women’s Health


Indonesia’s Ministry of Health has integrated electronic medical records (RME) into the SatuSehat (OneHealth) application, launched at the National Health Day exhibition on November 11, 2023. Now, Indonesians can access their medical records online through the app. Starting from September 2022 data, the integration allows patients to view visit histories, diagnoses, and prescribed medications. Users must verify their profiles at designated hospitals or through SatuSehat Mobile service corners to use this feature. This digital advancement aims to streamline healthcare, reduce unnecessary tests, and enhance emergency medical responses.


Vietnamese surgeons have successfully performed surgery on a child patient with epilepsy, utilising remote consultation with Taiwanese peers. The operation on the 15-year-old patient led to a significant reduction in the patient’s seizures and medication needs. This case, managed by the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital, marks an advancement in epilepsy treatment in Vietnam, showcasing the effectiveness of surgical intervention in managing drug-resistant epilepsy cases.

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