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27 Jun, 2012

RehabTech Asia Expo Aims to Improve Quality of Life for Disabled and Aged

Singapore – Asia’s first and only trade event for the assistive technology (AT), integrated care and rehabilitation engineering (RE) industry will be held from 27 February to 1 March 2013 at Singapore EXPO Convention & Exhibition Centre. The co-organisers are Fiera Milano S.p.A. and Singex Exhibition Ventures Pte Ltd., supported by Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau. It comprises a trade exhibition, a conference, a hosted buyer programme, and business forums.

RehabTech Asia comes at a time when there is growing interest in self-determined living and long-term healthcare, as Asia continues to age rapidly, with the numbers expected to grow to some 857 million by the year 2050. Technological advancement also means that there are now more opportunities for personal growth, employment and overall better quality of life for the disabled community. RehabTech Asia is therefore both strategic and timely, and will feature the latest findings and newest innovations in AT, integrated care and RE.

Said Mr Chandran Nair, General Manager (Project Management), Singex, “Across Asia, there have been increased application of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and legislative changes to laws affecting people with disabilities in Asia. With the AT and RE industry being of such high potential, RehabTech Asia will offer a single dedicated platform for all stakeholders in the regional AT, integrated care and RE arenas to gather to exchange knowledge and network. They will also be able to conduct meaningful discussions to maximise the health and well-being of people with disabilities, care requirements and chronic conditions through cutting-edge technology.”

Fiera Milano has been organising ReaTech Brasil through its subsidiary since 1999 and ReaTech Italia directly starting 2012. Said Ms Ilaria Cicero, Head of Legal Department of Fiera Milano and member of Board of Directors for its Indian and Russian subsidiaries, “In 2010, the market for assistive devices in the EU had an estimated annual value of €30 billion. We anticipate the same trend in Asia, as the population of Asia continues greying and the spotlight shifts to the needs of people with disabilities and their caregivers. We are confident of the business potential of Southeast Asia and beyond, and that RehabTech Asia will be a strong addition to the well-established ReaTech tradeshow circuit in Europe and South America.”

Other supporting organisations so far are Hong Kong Physiotherapy Association, Indonesian Occupational Therapy Association, Physical Therapy Association of ROC (Taiwan), Physical Therapy Research Foundation, Pakistan, and Singapore Physiotherapy Association.

At the same time, 55 academics, clinician and practitioners from around the world have joined the International Advisory Committee so far. The Committee members will provide guidance towards the planning of a comprehensive and stimulating Conference programme.

Dr Ng Yee Sien, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), who also spoke at the launch event, said, “Rehabilitation and integrated care are critical components in the continuum of treatment of many disabling diseases and injuries. The demand for rehabilitation has been rising exponentially in Asia in recent years, and SGH aims to optimise functional outcomes and reduce the tremendous burden of disability for patients across the region, leveraging on technology developments to reach these goals. At the RehabTech Asia conference, healthcare professionals from various disciplines will be able to share their knowledge, and such interactions will contribute to the nurturing of a holistic rehabilitation environment in Asia.”

Singapore is leading the way as the premier medical hub in Asia, having successfully integrated infrastructure, technology and research. Said Ms Samantha Su, Director, Services & Biomedical, SPRING Singapore, a Strategic Partner of RehabTech Asia, “Singapore’s vibrant environment has nurtured many healthcare and medical technology SMEs to constantly challenge existing techniques, developing products that are clinician-driven to ensure relevant and effective innovations. Today, our SMEs, including those in the assistive and rehabilitation segments, are fast gaining global recognition and making inroads internationally with innovative services and solutions.”

Excelpoint is one such company that SPRING has been working with through its Clinician Driven Innovation (CDI) Initiative. Said Mr Albert Phuay, its Group Chief Executive Officer, “SPRING’s CDI has linked healthcare service providers with medtech partners like us to develop effective, tested innovations that will meet the real-world needs of patients in the region. RehabTech Asia is certainly a much-welcomed springboard for us to showcase our telehealth and monitoring devices to clinicians and end-users from the region, who look towards Singapore for quality integrated care solutions.”

International AT and RE companies are also keen to secure a share of the AT and RE pie in Asia. Shared Mr Daryl Lim, Business Manager, Otto Bock South East Asia Co. Ltd, “With a strong commitment to restoring patient mobility and protecting the functions they have retained, we are keenly considering our participation in RehabTech Asia. We see the potential of this event as a strategic platform for us to reach out to more stakeholders in the rehabilitation sector in Southeast Asia, where the demand for assistive technology, prostheses, orthoses and mobility solutions is growing steadily.”

Remarked Mr Zen Koh, General Manager, Hocoma Singapore, “The integration of advanced robotics and rehabilitation has unlocked new possibilities for neurological patients, such as those with stroke, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis. Against a backdrop of greater awareness of early rehabilitation, functional training, independent living, and long-term healthcare in Asia, especially in countries like Singapore, Hocoma believes that RehabTech Asia will provide a conducive platform for key relevant stakeholders to discuss trends and exchange ideas in rehabilitation, with the aim of driving innovation and serving the needs of the disabled community.”