［Hiroyuki ABE］Browsing through a Medical Tour in the Netherlands［Healthcare Tour in the Netherlands (Part.1)］Sharing global knowledge to solve the world’s problems
Hiroyuki ABE (journalist)
“Browsing through a Medical Tour in the Netherlands.
Sharing global knowledge to solve the world’s problems.(1)”
In a swirl of sudden events I found myself flying to Europe a couple of days ago and here I am right now, writing from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. In fact, I was invited by their government officials, as part of an international press event aiming at letting us have an in-depth look at their country’s medical industry. Journalists of 12 different origins were gathered, including Brazil, Finland, Hungary, Jordan, Morocco, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Surinam, Vietnam and China.
We were not just landed that the Tour began with a general presentation of their actual medical system. The Netherlands’ population is counting up to 16.8 million inhabitants and and according to Mr. Hulleman, Senior Policy Advisor of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the total annual spendings on medical care amounts to 10 trillion yen (1 EURO = 136 yen), which represents 33% of their government’s entire budget. Given the scope of the country, this is an extremely heavy burden. Life expectation in the Netherlands scores quite high, with an average of 83.3 years for women and 78.3 for men. On the opposite, the average age of adults diagnosed with chronic diseases is rather low, at 48 and 42 years old for men and women respectively.
Looking back in 2005, the number of patients diagnosed with chronic diseases such as diabetes had increased by 40% in just 20 years. This factor having a tremendous impact on the cost for medical care, the country has been focusing in recent years on preventive healthcare. Particular efforts are put into the following actions:
- Reducing the growth percentage of patients with chronic diseases
- Increasing the average age of patients with chronic diseases
- Preventing additional health problems associated with chronic diseases
- Improving life environment for patients diagnosed with chronic diseases.
To achieve these objectives, the Netherlands’ government has set priorities in types of diseases:
- Metabolic Syndrome
In the move for prevention of these diseases, Mr. Hulleman says that they have implemented regional governmental programs to widely spread the awareness of the importance of family education. These types of programs are for sure as crucial as in any country around the planet, he says, but the Netherlands also suffers more and more of the lack of healthcare personnel, their education too has become a problem.
From Monday (Jan. 20th) to Friday (24th) we will be visiting a broad variety of healthcare facilities, from care centers to labs and corporations and I will be reporting about what I find out.
When I think of it, it is not uncommon that private companies organize such tours, but I am very surprised that a country’s government is ready to make public all about their policies and invites journalists from around the world for some PR action. In a sense, by publicizing their own policies internationally, it boosts up their national branding. With a Japanese point of view, this would certainly come down to “why do we have to show off our internal matters to foreign journalists?”
However, it is Japan that is THE MOST deeply and actively tackling with problems related to its aging population and decreasing birthrate, as well as struggling to find solutions to lower the impacting costs. I think it is important that our country too, shares its know-how in the matter to the rest of the world with a global open-mindedness. It would be absolutely not effective if each country was trying to find alone in their own little shell, solutions to worldwide spread problems. To me, the key in resolving these calamities resides in thinking globally and sharing each other’s knowledge.
- 2013年のヒット商品から見えること〜価格ではなく品質や機能を重視した「日本人としての誇りを取り戻す」商品やサービスが好調（野田万起子・インクグロウ株式会社 代表取締役社長）