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Bangladesh’s healthcare sector braces for ageing population

The country is expected to have one in five of its population to be elderly by 2050.

Bangladesh is expected to see a more ageing population over the coming decades as birth rates fall and life expectancies rise, which will be a major factor driving the growing demand for healthcare services in the country, according to a report from Fitch Solutions.

As of 2019, over 13 million people living in Bangladesh are aged over 60, which is 8% of the country’s total population. The proportion of older people is expected to double to 21.9% in 2050 with 36 million people aged over 60.

“With the elderly consuming a disproportionately large share of healthcare services, this rapid rise in the pensionable population will present pharmaceutical and healthcare companies with significant business expansion and revenue-earning opportunities, especially as the government tries to expand access to healthcare services,” the report stated.

Highlighting the forthcoming challenges associated with an ageing population, the government was urged to focus on the needs of an ageing population, which includes areas such as financial security, health and long-term care system, social well-being, and suitable environment, as well as elderly-friendly housing and transportation.

“As such, the country’s medical system will be increasingly geared towards the health needs of the elderly. The government also aims to develop an ageing-friendly healthcare system that focuses on prevention and less on costly hospital care,” Fitch said.

The country’s demographic profile is expected to drive the rising incidence of chronic conditions. Diabetes and diabetes-related diseases represent a growing problem in the country; and severe complications—such as foot ulcers, gangrene, and resulting amputations, blindness, and kidney failures—are the main causes of death and disability for people with diabetes.

There were about 6.9 million adults with diabetes in 2015, a prevalence of 6.9% according to data from the International Diabetes Federation. This figure is projected to reach 13.6 million by 2040 with a prevalence of 9.7%.

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