Brunei’s life expectancy rises to 77 years

James Kon

In Brunei Darussalam, the life expectancy of a person born today has increased to about 77 years, compared to 71 several decades ago, said Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar.

The minister was speaking at the launching ceremony for an awareness dissemination programme ‘Hidden Gems: Caring for Our Senior Citizens’, at the Health Promotion Centre yesterday.

“With the increase in life expectancy, Brunei Darussalam will also experience an ageing population phenomenon where it is expected that the population aged 60 and above will increase by more than 30 per cent by 2050,” he said.

“Therefore, it is highly appropriate to pay closer attention in maintaining the health and well-being of our senior citizens.”

He said, “Falls are a common issue among senior citizens, which can result in serious injuries, including fractures that may result in hospital admissions, disabilities or morbidity and even death.

“Falling can also threaten safety and dependence, as well as the quality of life of an individual. Increased incidents of falling among senior citizens will also limit their social activities and involvement. This can lead to a decline in physical health, as well as creating social isolation and depression.

“Therefore, the issue of falls among senior citizens needs to be given attention, so that senior citizens can continue to be self-reliant and independent, as well as reduce their reliance and dependency on family members or carers.”

He pointed that among the measures to be undertaken “is to increase public awareness and education on the risk of falling and the steps to prevent it, including carrying out assessment and checks on the risks of falling, carrying out balance and muscle strengthening exercises, making sure that the house is free of fall hazards, and wearing safe footwear.

“In response to the increasing ageing population, an action plan on senior citizens with a whole-of-nation approach was established by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, among whose members are ministries and government agencies, including the Ministry of Health. One of the steps in support of the action plan is the senior citizens health promotion programme that was implemented at the Senior Citizen Activity Centre in the Tutong District, in 2018 and 2019.

“The aim of the programme is to raise awareness of senior citizens on the issues of health and the health services available such as non-communicable diseases, issues related to ageing, a healthy lifestyle; and other health services such as pharmacies, dental checks and others for the empowerment of senior citizens, so that they can continue to live a healthy lifestyle.

“It is hoped that the health programme will fulfil a number of needs outlined in the Senior Citizens’ Issues Action Plan, as well as in support of Brunei Vision 2035 to achieve a quality lifestyle.

“Therefore, it is very appropriate for today’s fall prevention programme to be continued and incorporated into other senior citizens health promotion programmes.

“Today’s ceremony is in line with the slogan of the Prime Minister’s Office for this month, which is Memeduli Warga Emas Kewajipan Semua (The Care for Senior Citizen is the Responsibility of All). It is hoped that all relevant parties, including family members and the community, will continue to work together in ensuring that the health and wellbeing of senior citizen in the country will always be given attention and priority.”