Last Friday, October 20, 2023, members of the Asia Pacific Consortium on Osteoporosis (APCO) celebrated World Osteoporosis Day (WOD). This annual global campaign, coordinated by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), aims to raise much-needed awareness of the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of osteoporosis and fragility fractures.
This year IOF’s WOD campaign is centered around the theme of “Building Better Bones” and this can be achieved through the collective efforts of both patients and healthcare professionals. It was wonderful to witness numerous APCO members taking proactive steps to raise awareness about the significance of early detection and treatment of osteoporosis. This is particularly crucial in the Asia Pacific region, where over the next two decades, a staggering 319 million people aged 50 years and over are projected to be at high risk of osteoporotic fracture due to the rapidly ageing population, mounting urbanization, and subsequent increase in sedentary lifestyles. WOD therefore, provides a strong platform to raise awareness of this important public health cause.
Keep reading to learn how some of our APCO members representing 23 countries and regions throughout the Asia Pacific, celebrated this important occasion – namely Australia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
In the lead-up to WOD 2023, Healthy Bones Australia (HBA) launched the ‘Know Your Bones Community Risk Report’ Third Edition 2023. The event presented results from the new report which summarises data from more than 104,000 Australians who have completed the Know Your Bones online self-assessment tool. The report was launched at the Parliament House in Canberra on October 19, 2023, with many key stakeholders present, including Ministers, members of the Australian government, patients, clinicians, and some partner organizations. Dual World and Olympic champion hurdler, Sally Pearson, OAM, was present at the event with a message that urges Aussies to “know your bones” this World Osteoporosis Day 2023.
The launch was a great success with the strong interest and support of the members of the Federal government. The press coverage was unprecedented across major national TV and radio channels. The HBA’s CEO, and APCO Executive Committee member, Greg Lyubomirsky thanked all guests for attending and outlined the report findings and the event included a video message of support for Healthy Ageing Advocate Ita Buttrose. Presentations included Olympic and World Champion Sally Pearson, who experienced a serious fracture during her professional hurdling career, and The Hon Emma McBride MP Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health who officially launched the report. Patient Advocates Carole David and Rosemary Crane also attended to support the prevention message and release of the report findings.
Prof Peter Ebeling, Chair of HBA and APCO Executive Committee member, who was also present at the launch, said “The report is showing gaps in care. I encourage policymakers, health professionals, and the community to remain focused on preventing fractures and building healthier bones”
In Mongolia, Dr. Myadagmaa Jaalkhorol, APCO Committee member and President Mongolian Naran Society of Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Health, gave a speech during a TV interview on Mongolian News Channel (MNC). In the 10-minute interview that was broadcast on October 20, 2023, Dr. Myadagmaa Jaalkhorol educated the public about Osteoporosis and its risk factors. She also shared about some preventive measures that can be taken such as including milk and dairy products in a person’s diet.
The interview occurred during the WOD opening ceremony at the event organised by the Mongolian Naran Society for Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Health, and the Mongolian-Japanese Hospital of MNUMS. Clinicians from the participating organizations evaluated the knowledge and risk factors of 500 ambulatory clients about osteoporosis. The International Osteoporosis Foundation’s osteoporosis risk assessment and health improvement recommendations were translated from English to Mongolian and questionnaires were collected from outpatient clients. Clinicians also measured participating patients’ Bone Mineral Density (BMD) tests and provided their consulting services on Osteoporosis. Ambulatory clients who were diagnosed with osteoporosis were encouraged to consume osteoporosis-preventing milk and dairy products. The event’s golden sponsor Suu JSC, provided 2000 milk and dairy products which were distributed to the patients.
In conjunction with this year’s WOD, the Myanmar Society of Endocrine & Metabolism (MSEM) and Myanmar Diabetes Association (MMDA) celebrated by launching of Myanmar Clinical Practice Guideline for Management of Osteoporosis and Fragility Fracture. The launch occurred during the Hybrid Symposium on “Update Management of Osteoporosis” in commemoration of World Osteoporosis Day 2023 which was held at Melia Hotel on October 15, 2023. The symposium was attended by 308 clinicians (198 virtual attendees and 110 in-person attendees) across various disciplines. APCO committee members, Dr Tet Tun Chit and Prof Moe Wint Aung were part of this momentous occasion. Prof Moe Wint Aung expressed gratitude towards Prof Manju Chandran – Chairperson APCO, for providing her expert input during the development of the Guidelines.
To commemorate WOD 2023, a public health talk video was recorded by a multidisciplinary team of clinicians from Yangon General Hospital, Myanmar. The panel consisted of an Endocrinologist, a Physical Medicine specialist, an Orthopaedic surgeon, a Geriatrician, and a Nutrition specialist. The educational video about “How to prevent Osteoporosis” was recorded and posted on the Facebook page of the event sponsor, Mega Nutra & We care.
Free assessments of bone health and fracture risk were provided at the Grand Hantha International Hospital, Myanmar on October 19, 2023. FRAX plus were calculated and DXA scan were conducted. 150 people took advantage of the free assessments, and free counselling was done for those who is eligible for treatment.
In the Philippines, APCO committee member, Prof. Leilani Asis and the Osteoporosis Society of the Philippines Foundation Inc (OSPFI) in partnership with other healthcare professionals and advocacy groups came together to educate and engage in activities that emphasized bone health. Online webinars and virtual seminars provided accessible information on osteoporosis prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Experts highlighted the importance of a balanced diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices in maintaining strong bones.
There were organized bone density screenings and distribution of informational materials and resources to those at risk. These efforts aimed to reach those who might be unaware of their vulnerability to the condition.
While the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated some alterations in the way World Osteoporosis Day was celebrated, the commitment to preventing and managing osteoporosis remained unwavering. Through virtual and on-ground activities, the day succeeded in spreading awareness and fostering a sense of collective responsibility for bone health. It’s a testament to the resilience and adaptability of communities when it comes to addressing significant public health issues.
In Singapore, the annual Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Public Forum on Osteoporosis had its 16th iteration ahead of World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) on October 7, 2023. The forum which is now a hallowed tradition, was again a resounding success. Organized by the Osteoporosis and Bone Metabolism Unit of the Department of Endocrinology at SGH, this year, the forum had talks on Osteoporosis by Prof Manju Chandran, exercise by Dr Cindy Ng, and Nutrition for bone health by Dietitian Ms Wang Xuan. The audience, which was highly committed and enthusiastic, demonstrated unmatched enthusiasm to learn more about how to build better bones. The interactive games session led by the Osteoporosis Nurse Clinicians – Huang Xiao Feng and Liu Xiao Ming was a massive hit with people gathering around the various stations and taking part in quizzes and activities that tested the knowledge they had acquired during the forum.
Another huge attraction was Mr. Teddy Bones – our WISH BONE (Women and Men in Support of Healthy Bones) Support Group’s Mascot Bear. 30 limited edition versions of him got sold in minutes – the money going directly to our SGH Needy patient fund. The forum ended with Prof Manju Chandran – Senior Consultant Endocrinologist and Director of the Osteoporosis and Bone Metabolism Unit, thanking the Scientific Endorsers of the forum – the International Osteoporosis Foundation, Asia Pacific Consortium on Osteoporosis, the Osteoporosis Society Singapore, WISH BONE – the Osteoporosis Support Group at SGH and the Chapter of Endocrinologists, College of Physicians Singapore.
On the occasion of World of Osteoporosis Day 2023, Dr. Tanawat Amphansap, APCO committee member, gave a presentation on the topic of “APCO: Asia-Pacific clinical standard assessment and management in osteoporosis” to orthopaedic surgeons and healthcare personnel during The 45th Annual meeting of the Royal College of Orthopaedic Surgeons of Thailand (RCOST) and the 43rd Annual meeting of ASEAN Orthopaedic Association. The meeting was held at the Royal Cliff Hotel, Thailand.
Approximately 70 physicians and health care providers attended the presentation organized by Dr. Tanawat Amphansap on October 20, 2023. There were also talks on the subject of Metabolic Bone Disorders, on Orthogeriatric care, including a talk on the current osteoporosis care pathway.
Every year, WOD provides an opportunity for APCO members to come together, raise awareness of this important cause, and to celebrate their many achievements to date. It is heartening to see the different cultural approaches and executions in celebrating this global health initiative across our member nations and regions.
To learn more about APCO’s commitment to developing tangible solutions to the substantive challenges involving osteoporosis management and fracture prevention in the most populated and fastest-growing region of the world, head to: apcobonehealth.org and follow us on LinkedIn.