Thu, Jul 15, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Index finds Taiwan has best ‘quality of death’ in Asia

STIFF COMPETITIONIn a survey of 40 countries, Britain topped a list for best end-of-life care, with China placed 37th and India bringing up the rear

STAFF WRITER, WITH AFP

Taiwan came out top in Asia and ranked 14th globally in a “quality of death” index published yesterday.

The study, commissioned by the Lien Foundation, a Singapore philanthropic organization, and published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), wrote that as the global population ages, the demand for end-of-life care is expected to surge, and governments and other providers are racing against time to meet these needs.

Asian countries are failing to provide adequate care for the dying despite rising standards of living across the region, the report said.

In Asia, Taiwan topped the list of countries and was 14th globally, followed by Singapore (18), Hong Kong (20) and South Korea (32).

The lowest-ranked countries included China (37) and India, which was last.

Japan was 23rd among 40 countries ranked worldwide in the index. The exorbitant cost of care for the dying and lack of manpower trained to provide care were the main reasons behind Japan’s poor showing.

Britain topped the list for the best end-of-life care, followed by Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada and the US.

The average healthcare expenditure for the 40 economies covered in the study was 8.8 percent of GDP, said Tony Nash, global director for client research at EIU, adding that one hurdle in countries like India and China was their sheer size and population.

“Being large countries, even with the rapid economic growth that they have, it will take some time for them to cover [a large number] of the population,” Nash said after a press briefing in Singapore.

The US was the highest spender on healthcare — more than 16 percent of GDP — while India was the lowest at 1 percent, Nash said. Taiwan’s spending on healthcare is 6.1 percent of GDP, the Bureau of National Health Insurance Web site says.

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