HAPI Announces Winners of the 1st Healthy Aging Prize for Asian Innovation

  • Thailand’s Buddy HomeCare from the Foundation for Older Persons’ Development (FOPDEV) wins Grand Prize for Technology & Innovation
  • The award showcases best practices in Asia to address the challenges facing rapidly aging societies

Bangkok, August 5, 2020 – The Healthy Aging Prize for Asian Innovation (HAPI) recently announced the top honors for its first HAPI awards, with Thailand’s Buddy HomeCare from FOPDEV winning the Grand Prize for Technology & Innovation. The awardees were selected from more than 130 applicants from 12 countries and regions under three categories.

  • Technology & Innovation: New technologies/techniques that encourage healthy and productive aging, that improves care, or that provides greater efficiency, safety, or convenience.
  • Community-Based Initiatives: Community-based approaches—including intergenerational approaches—to keep older adults healthy, active, engaged, and/or safe.
  • Supporting Self-Reliance: New ways to help older adults maintain, improve, or restore physical and mental functions, that assist them as those functions deteriorate, or that build resilience.

HAPI is an award program designed to recognize and amplify innovative policies, programs, services, and products that address the challenges facing aging societies. This prize is an initiative of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE), carried out under the auspices of the Japanese government’s Asia Health and Wellbeing Initiative (AHWIN). The selection committee for the award was formed with an international committee of experts.

Prof. Hidetoshi Nishimura, one of the award organizers and President of ERIA said, “The selection committee was very impressed with Buddy HomeCare’s unique approach, leveraging technology— in this case a smartphone app—to create a community-based healthcare monitoring system that solves multiple problems.”

Akio Okawara, award organizer  and President & CEO of JCIE, agreed, “Buddy HomeCare is addressing both the lack of care services for older people and the lack of job opportunities for impoverished youth from Thailand’s indigenous hill tribes, and at the same time offering a way to share health information between older people, care providers, and family members.”

The award is unique for its breadth of coverage, allowing a wide range of organizations—including community organizations, NPOs, associations, local governments, businesses, and others—across the region to apply and enabling them to showcase how they are innovating on a diverse set of interconnected issues.

“The Buddy HomeCare team  would like to thank HAPI for awarding us the Grand Prize, which will help us continue to work on solving Thailand’s social problems,” said Mr. Sawang Kaewkantha, Founder & Executive Director of FOPDEV. “Buddy HomeCare provides support to disadvantaged youth, whose parents do not have money to send them to school. We provide scholarships for them to attend a care giver course, then after graduation Buddy HomeCare provides career support to find them work taking care of the elderly. We also help the elderly via community volunteers by providing care services, sharing knowledge and skills of basic health care for older people and their relatives.”

HAPI was introduced at a pivotal time as Asia now faces unprecedented demographic changes. By 2050, East and Southeast Asia are expected to have 572 million people aged 65 or over—more than double today’s number. Countries in Europe and North America have undergone a similar shift, but it happened over the course of several generations, whereas the shift from an “aging” to an “aged” society in Asian countries will take less than 25 years on average. This has tremendous social and economic implications for the affected countries and for Asia as a whole, creating both challenges and unprecedented opportunities.

The grand prize is awarded to three exceptional organizations.

Technology & Innovation:

  • Foundation for Older Persons’ Development (FOPDEV) | Thailand

Buddy HomeCare: Community-Based Healthcare Management and Monitoring System

Buddy HomeCare has developed a mobile app–based system for healthcare management and monitoring, including health screenings, individual healthcare program design, and follow-up. This technology serves as the key tool in a program that provides impoverished youth with training to be caregivers, while also providing older people with cost-effective, high-quality homecare services.

Community-Based Initiatives:

  • HelpAge International in Vietnam | Vietnam

The Intergenerational Self-Help Club (ISHC) Development Model

Since 2006, HelpAge International in Vietnam and local partners have piloted the ground-breaking Intergenerational Self-Help Club (ISHC) model—community-based organizations that promote healthy longevity through a range of inter-generational activities. The ISHCs now number nearly 3,000 nationwide and have become the largest care providers in the country.

Supporting Self-Reliance:

  • Komagane City | Japan

Preventing Stroke Recurrence through a Hospital–Local Government Partnership to Support Patient Self-Management. The city of Komagane partnered with the Showa Inan General Hospital on an initiative to help stroke patients better manage their health to prevent recurrence. Skilled professionals work with patients and their families at the hospital, engaging them in setting and managing their own health goals, providing an app to monitor their daily condition, and consulting with them for the first year following discharge.


Second Prize Winners

The second prize was awarded to seven organizations as follows:

Bueng Yitho Municipality | Thailand  

STRONG Model Program

Grundtvig.inc | Japan

The Housing Complex as One Big Family / grundtvig.inc

Help Without Frontiers Foundation; for Oldy Project | Thailand

forOldy Grandpa and Grandma Shop

Indonesia Ramah Lansia (IRL Foundation) | Indonesia                          

Indonesia Elderly Friendly Community Program

Korea Association of Senior Welfare Centers (KASWC) | South Korea

KB Good Memory School: A Senior Center–Based Dementia Prevention Program

SmartPeep | Malaysia

SmartPeep AI Elderly-Sitter System

Vietnam Association of the Elderly | Vietnam

Bright Eyes Program for Older People in Vietnam

Details about the winning innovations are available on www.ahwin.org.


About the Organizers

HAPI is an initiative of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), based in Jakarta, and the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE), located in Tokyo and New York, two nonprofit think tanks that are partnering on several projects under the auspices of the Japanese government’s Asia Health and Wellbeing Initiative (AHWIN). AHWIN was launched by the Japanese government in 2016 to promote bilateral and regional cooperation on a range of issues related to fostering vibrant and healthy societies where people can enjoy long and productive lives, to develop sustainable and self-reliant health care systems in Asia, and to contribute to the region’s sustainable and equitable development and economic growth. As part of that initiative, ERIA and JCIE are focusing on the promotion of healthy aging in Asia, supporting research, dialogues, and information sharing that can benefit people and policymakers throughout the region. For details, visit our website at https://www.ahwin.org/award/” https://www.ahwin.org/award/

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