Updated on 23 August 2013
Ms Ziena Jalil, New Zealand Trade Commissioner to Singapore, Singapore
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) is New Zealand government's national economic development agency and works to stimulate economic growth by helping to boost export earnings, strengthen regional economies and deliver economic development assistance to industries and individual businesses. Through its global network of offices, NZTE works with international businesses and investors, connecting them to New Zealand business opportunities.
Recently, New Zealand-based Orion Health was picked by the Singapore Ministry of Health to develop the country's electronic healthcare records program. New Zealand Trade Commissioner to Singapore, Ms Ziena Jalil is playing an instrumental role in connecting New Zealand and Singapore companies to develop platforms that help to manage and assist governments in planning and preparing for future disease trends. In a talk with BioSpectrum Asia, she shares the details about the activities going on between two countries and the impact it can have in the healthcare sector.
What are the recent initiatives taken by the trade commission in Singapore to promote life science industry of New Zealand?
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is focused on highlighting what New Zealand industry and businesses can offer Singapore and the Asian region. We look at matching capability with needs in this region. One of our key areas of focus is healthcare and we have a number of initiatives to promote New Zealand's expertise in this industry. We play a connecting role in introducing Singaporean healthcare professionals to New Zealand government and industry leaders and allow our New Zealand companies to showcase their products and technology to the Singapore health sector.
There are a number of areas of cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the healthcare sector. New Zealand and Singapore are working together to develop a number of innovative solutions to tackle a range of healthcare and other challenges that come with fast-growing, increasingly affluent and ageing populations. For instance, scientists from the National University of Singapore and Singapore Institute of Clinical Sciences are currently working together with scientists from New Zealand's AgResearch and the University of Auckland as part of the Epigen consortium.
According to you, what are the challenges faced by New Zealand life science industry and how can they be overcome?
New Zealand, like many other parts of the world, is facing the challenges that come with a fast-growing and ageing population. To manage these challenges, we need to innovate and look at how we can develop systems, processes and technology that allow us to continue to provide high quality healthcare, food and other essential services. Our healthcare industry, for example, has been looking at innovative solutions for decades and we introduced our National Health Index more than 20 years ago.