Countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion aim for Sustainable Development Goals for health. Yet, the subregion still experiences high incidence of communicable diseases and drug-resistant microorganisms. GMS countries also suffer from inefficient health systems due to lack of synergies, economies of scale, and scope; and there are few common solutions to common health problems.

The Working Group on Health Cooperation seeks to address collective action problems of regional health investments and limited resources for health that tend to prioritize national investments.



After more than 20 years, the Working Group on Human Resource Development is being restructured to focus on health, given the strategic importance of regional cooperation in this area.

Human resource development, however, continues to be an important sector in the Greater Mekong Subregion. At an extraordinary meeting of the Working Group on Human Resource Development in Bangkok on 4 July 2017, participants agreed on the following key points:

  • Refocus the working group and its approach, given the new strategic direction toward health cooperation.
  • Continue to respond to demand for analysis and similar initiatives in higher education at the country level.
  • Cooperate with other development partners with expertise on labor and migration.
  • Integrate social development across all sectors of the GMS.
  • Develop the scope for a new Working Group on Health Cooperation.

Learn more:

Strategic Framework and Action Plan for Human Resource Development in the Greater Mekong Subregion (2013–2017)
Strategic Framework and Action Plan for Human Resource Development in the Greater Mekong Subregion (2009-2012)
Summary of Proceedings



Mekong Forum Looks at Ways to Promote Healthy Economic Zones

Economic zones hold unique health risks for both workers and communities, but they also offer opportunities to protect workers’ productivity and improve community health. Photo: ADB.

Mekong Forum Looks at Ways to Promote Healthy Economic Zones

Economic zones are growth engines of the Greater Mekong Subregion, stimulating economic activity and creating jobs. Yet, not much attention has been given to the social and health aspects of economic zone development until recently.

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Factory workers assemble electronic products at Savan Park Special Economic Zone in Savannakhet, Lao People's Democratic Republic. Photo: ADB. 

Health Impact Assessment Framework for Special Economic Zones, Explained

Countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion recognize how a health impact assessment framework can help ensure that both businesses and communities benefit from economic zone development.

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There is a need to strengthen health systems to prevent and manage climate-sensitive diseases, particularly among the most vulnerable groups such as the poor, the elderly, women, and children. Photo: ADB.

Mekong Countries Strengthen Health Resilience to Climate Change

Climate change poses threats to public health in the Greater Mekong Subregion, which is already experiencing hotter weather, longer dry seasons, and changing rainfall patterns.

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Migrant and mobile populations in the Greater Mekong Subregion are often more exposed to malaria and out of reach of the health system. They can also spread the disease as they move within the region. Photo: ADB.

Migrant and mobile populations in the Greater Mekong Subregion are often more exposed to malaria and out of reach of the health system. They can also spread the disease as they move within the region. Photo: ADB.

Mosquitoes Know No Borders

Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Myanmar are on the frontlines of the global fight against malaria.

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ADB Lao PDR Resident Mission OIC Steven Schipani and Vice Minister of Finance Thipphakone Chanthavongsa signed the loan and grant agreement in a ceremony in Vientiane.

ADB Lao PDR Resident Mission OIC Steven Schipani and Vice Minister of Finance Thipphakone Chanthavongsa signed the loan and grant agreement in a ceremony in Vientiane attended by other government officials. Photo: ADB

ADB Support to Strengthen Health Security in Lao PDR, Mekong Region

VIENTIANE, LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC (3 February 2017) — The Asian Development Bank and the Government of Lao People’s Democratic Republic today signed an agreement for a $12 million loan and grant package for a health security project.

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The project will enhance responses to emerging infectious diseases and the management of other major public health threats. Photo: ADB.

ADB $125 Million Loan and Grant to Strengthen Health Security in GMS

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA (23 November 2016) — The Asian Development Bank has approved a $117 million loan to the Governments of Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Viet Nam to enhance responses to emerging infectious diseases and the management of other major public health threats. The Lao PDR government is also receiving $8 million in grant assistance.

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