The world is generally getting more prosperous and healthier, and people live longer. Japan, with the world's most advanced population aging, has made various efforts over the past half-century to prepare for the aging society. Globally, many countries observe today's rapid demographic changes accompanied by low birth rate and start acknowledging population shrinkage as a looming challenge beyond that of population aging. The world will face dual challenges of population aging and shrinkage, but these two issues have been considered in isolation. In addition, the progression differs from region to region and country to country, preventing policymakers from taking a future-back approach to address the core challenges. This issue of Global Health & Medicine carries two valuable articles on population aging and related policies reported by staff members of the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). This paper will consider the importance of aging and low fertility rate (declining birthrate) as global issues by placing the WHO and UNFPA articles in a broader context. Population aging and shrinkage overlap and significantly impact society through health issues. Still, the impact on countries, regions, and the world will become obvious with a time lag. Therefore, this paper advocates analyzing and critically reviewing the experience of countries in which demographic changes are already well advanced, and sharing them with the world. This will contribute significantly to those regions and countries that will walk the same path in the future.
The Western Pacific Region is experiencing rapid population ageing, which has implications for almost all areas of society. Countries will need to prepare for population ageing by investing in health and optimizing living environments. This requires a whole-of-society approach to healthy ageing. Countries in the Western Pacific Region have been making significant progress in healthy ageing. Since the endorsement of the Regional Action Plan on Healthy Ageing, younger societies have also started preparing for population ageing, focusing on social and health systems transformation, community-based integrated care, social and technological innovations and research, monitoring and evaluation. As more countries are interested in healthy ageing and preparing for necessary social and health systems transformation, the case studies in this article can be an inspiration for Member States to transform their approaches to achieving a society where older adults are healthier and can participate fully.
Declining fertility is an increasing global trend. In many low fertility contexts, people are having fewer children then they want, and these unfulfilled fertility desires have been associated with wider socio-economic changes in education and labour force participation and conflicting and often contradictory expectations of women at home and at work. The right to determine if, when and how one has children is enshrined in international law yet many policies responses to low fertility fail to meet these standards. This paper summarizes why people in the Asia-Pacific region are having fewer children than they desire, and the range of policy responses, particularly those that make life easier for working parents. This raises two important points. First, we need to contend to the gender dynamics that underpin this in the region, despite gradual changes in women's roles, they are still seen as "caregivers" and undertake a disproportionate amount of unpaid care work, often having to lean-out of their employment, and/or face gender discrimination in the workplace. Second, the "emergency" of low fertility arises from complex social and economic conditions that cannot be solved by population policies solely focused on making babies.
The visceral fat area obtained by computed tomography (CT) at the navel level is clinically used as an indicator of visceral fat obesity in Japan. Analysis of skeletal muscle mass using CT images at the navel level may potentially support concurrent assessment of sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity. The purpose of this study was to assess the performance of deep learning models (DLMs) for skeletal muscle mass measurement using low-dose abdominal CT. The primary dataset used in this study included 11,494 low-dose abdominal CT images at navel level acquired in 7,370 subjects for metabolic syndrome screening. The publicly available Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA) dataset, including 5,801 abdominal CT images, was used as a complementary dataset. For abdominal CT image segmentation, we used the SegU-net DLM with different filter size and hierarchical depth. The segmentation accuracy was assessed by measuring the dice similarity coefficient (DSC), cross-sectional area (CSA) error, and Bland-Altman plots. The proposed DLM achieved a DSC of 0.992 ± 0.012, a CSA error of 0.41 ± 1.89%, and a Bland-Altman percent difference of -0.1 ± 3.8%. The proposed DLM was able to automatically segment skeletal muscle mass measurements from low-dose abdominal CT with high accuracy.
The Indonesia health care services require knowledgeable and skilled nurses as professional service providers, especially in a gerontic nursing area. Moreover, widening the gap between academic and clinical practice is also an issue, which affects the care service quality. In these circumstances, the project to enhance the educational skills of nursing lecturers and clinical nurse preceptors in gerontic nursing practice was started in 2020. Japanese nursing education experts provided guidance on the principle theory of nursing practice in basic nursing education and conducted workshops to develop nursing practice materials for 10 Indonesian trainees. The project provided 3 webinars for more than 100 Indonesian nursing lecturers and preceptors each time, 18 workshops and developed 2 virtual reality (VR) materials, 8 supervisions of the trial class and 5 lectures onsite and online. This study aimed to clarify the effects of the project evaluated in the process and its impact using a questionnaire survey and interviews conducted. The results of the questionnaire survey for students showed that 20% of their knowledge and skills in gerontic nursing, increased and the extent of understanding and satisfaction was high. Lecurers and preceptors perceived improvement in their teaching skills, especially in theoretical thinking and evidence-based teaching methods. Notably, "the evaluation from others" would be a facilitating factor of the project. The project effects were clarified and achieved the goal and objectives of the project.
Polypharmacy, common in patients with diabetes, may cause adverse drug reactions. The number of antidiabetic and non-antidiabetic drugs prescribed to patients in different age groups remains unclear. The aim of this study was to examine the number and class of antidiabetics and non-antidiabetics prescribed to Japanese patients with diabetes, stratified by age for reducing polypharmacy. This cross-sectional study examined all prescriptions of patients prescribed antidiabetics at 257 pharmacies of Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings in Japan from May 2018 to March 2019. Total prescription numbers including antidiabetic drugs were 263,915 in this study. Mean numbers of antidiabetic drugs per prescription were 1.71, 2.17, and 1.52 in the patient age groups of 10–19, 50–59, and 90–99 years, respectively. Count of antidiabetics was not related to age. However, the mean total number of drugs prescribed increased with age, which was 2.22 and 7.99 in the age groups of 10–19 and 90–99 years, respectively. The linear regression coefficient (b) according to age was 0.07 (p < 0.001) for 10–99 years. The mean non-antidiabetic number of agents prescribed increased with age among 10–99 years (b = 0.07, p < 0.001). Among outpatients treated for diabetes, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (29%) and antihypertensive, β-blocking and renin-angiotensin system blocking drugs (32%) were the most prescribed antidiabetics and non-antidiabetics in all ages, respectively. The number of prescribed antidiabetic agents did not increase with age, whereas the total and non-antidiabetic numbers of medications prescribed increased linearly. For reduction of polypharmacy in older people with diabetes, we need to focus on non-antidiabetics.
The "Humanization of Childbirth" Project is one of the various maternity care models that respect women and their newborn children. For more than a quarter of a century, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been implementing technical cooperation projects worldwide that place the humanization of childbirth at the center of the concept. By reviewing the project reports, the following 11 key processes were found for the formulation and implementation of future projects for the humanized maternity care: i) project-finding/exploration of unmet needs, ii) identification of local key persons, iii) organization of a project team and a back-up committee, iv) development of an action plan, v) sharing of concepts, vi) development of local leadership, vii) organization of infrastructure, viii) final evaluation and wrap-up seminar, ix) ensuring sustainability, x) development of younger generation experts, and xi) sustainable and autonomous action.
Development of diabetic foot can cause serious harm to a patient's body and pose a heavy burden on family members and society. Protective shoes are of great significance to preventing diabetic foot. The aim of the current study was to understand patients' views and suggestions concerning the selection and promotion of protective shoes for diabetics in order to explore existing obstacles and to provide a reference for improving relevant public health care policies and clinical decision-making for patients with diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). A total of 10 patients with DFUs were recruited. All participants completed a one-hour semi-structured interview, and results reflected the participants' choice of footwear, the patients' perceptions and acceptance of protective footwear, and factors influencing those processes. The use and promotion of protective shoes in China requires greater support, including improved medical insurance policies, promotion of multidisciplinary cooperation between medicine and industry in clinical practice, and better health education.
Midwives are professionals who fulfill maternal and child health needs. In Mongolia, midwives were unable to transfer their knowledge and skills to the next generation midwives last few decades. The details of their experiences and the comprehensive aspects of continuing professional development (CPD) are still unclear. This study aimed to assess the current status of midwives in clinical practice through an online symposium. Relevant information was collected from presentations, question-and-answer sessions, and questionnaires. It was found that CPD has unclear training plans, no specialized training, and with them having little experience with CPD. Newly graduated midwives do not have an educational program. As of the current status, midwifery services are not provided at the clinical site in the scope of midwifery job descriptions. This study also discusses the situation of low status and salary in midwifery. Strengthening the system of midwifery CPD like development of the educational program is needed.
Recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA) is a multifactorial disease that seriously affects women’s physical and mental health. With the advent of efficient contraception, the trend for women towards later maternity until their thirties or even forties. Nevertheless, the risk of miscarriage is strongly related to maternal age. We performed a retrospective analysis to evaluate the etiology of RSA through age groups. The results demonstrated that intrauterine adhesions and ovarian dysfunction were responsible for increased miscarriages in older RSA patients. In conclusion, older women will bear a higher risk of miscarriage, mainly due to uterine adhesions or decreased ovarian function.