Young Scientists (B)

Formulation of health-checkup system for the elderly in the Kingdom of Bhutan

Principal Investigator: SAKAMOTO, Ryota
Period: FY2013-16


According to United Nations, at the global level, 5 per cent of the population was at least 65 years of age in 1950. By 2009, this proportion had increased to just under 8 per cent. By 2050, 16 per cent of the world population is projected to be 65 year or over. According to the government of the Kingdom of Bhutan, the number of the aged 65 years or over was 29745 in 2005 and the number will double by 2030. We would like to introduce health checkup for the elderly because the health checkup is an important opportunity to grasp problems around the elderly and to prevent the elderly from future diseases, disabilities, and deaths. We will assess disability, dementia, depression, diabetes, dental problem, isolation, hypertension, alcohol problem, visual problem, ear problem, fall, urinary incontinence, and nutrition (5 Ds, I HAVE FUN for short) of the elderly. To integrate the project to primary health care, understanding by medical staff and villagers are necessary. The elderly should be cared through collaborations with family, neighbors, village heads, medical facilities, schools, and so on. Chief program officer and District Health Officer introduced about the project to medical staff in Basic Health Unit (BHU), hospitals, village heads, village health workers, and principals in the schools. We should include not only people who come to medical facilities but also people who do not come to the facilities because some elderly people cannot come to the facilities even if they want to. There is a possibility that such people have severe diseases and we have to take care with special attention. Although there are issues of manpower, medical staff should visit the houses of the elderly if needed. We hope the program will trigger and help to build up the bond and harmony in the communities.