Health Cooperation

Countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion aim for Sustainable Development Goals for health. Through the Working Group on Health Cooperation, GMS countries are taking comprehensive, coordinated and proactive approaches to address regional health issues.


The Greater Mekong 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.

Regional health cooperation initiatives in the Greater Mekong Subregion focus on three strategic pillars:

Strategic Pillar 1: Health security as a regional public good tackles the subregion’s vulnerability to acute public health events. Ensuring robust national health systems with capacity to prevent, detect and respond to transnational health threats is the cornerstone of health security.

Strategic Pillar 2: Health impacts of connectivity and mobility responds to health challenges stemming from an increasingly interconnected GMS. Strengthening health systems in border areas where migrant and mobile populations pass and reside is an entry point for programming. Also includes. integrating health impact assessment during project planning and implementation of GMS urban and transport infrastructure projects.

Strategic Pillar 3: Health workforce development builds on the subregion’s existing human resource capacity to address common health challenges. Strong leadership in turn opens opportunities for intraregional capacity building, utilizing the subregions’ depth of health human resource and health programming experience to tackle shared health issues and enhance country efforts to attain Sustainable Development Goal targets.

Related


Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank

  • Rikard Elfving
    Head, WGHC Secretariat
    Sr. Social Sector Specialist
    Human and Social Development Division
    South Asia Department
  • Kyi Thar
    Public Health Specialist (Consultant),
    Human and Social Development Division
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Mario Randolph Dacanay
    Regional Coordinator/Health Cooperation Specialist (Consultant)
    Human and Social Development Division
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Marissa Espiritu
    Finance and Logistics Specialist (Consultant),
    Human and Social Development Division,
    Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat

Send inquiries to GMS Secretariat.


Human Resource Development

After more than 20 years, the Working Group on Human Resource Development was restructured in 2017 to focus on health, given the strategic importance of regional cooperation in this area.


Consequent to the review of the GMS Institutional Framework in 2016 and a separate review of the Strategic Framework and Action Plan for Human Resource Development in the GMS 2013–2017, GMS ministers endorsed the creation of the Working Group on Health Cooperation in 2017.

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.

Related



Migrant workers are returning to Southeast Asia in large numbers as governments grapple with how best to keep them employed. Photo: Ina Carolino

COVID-19 is Sending Millions of Overseas Workers Back Into Southeast Asia’s Rural Areas

With the right policies, enough jobs can be created to employ returning workers and creating the opportunity for a new era in agricultural entrepreneurship in the region.

ADB Blogs

Mekong Countries, Republic of Korea Convene 10th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

The 10th Mekong-Republic of Korea (RoK) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held on 28 September online, with the participation of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the RoK. The meeting highlighted achievements in cooperation on infrastructure, information technology, education, agriculture, environmental protection, and water resources management, and adopted the action plan for 2021-2025.

GMS in the News

COVID-19 equipment donated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to to Viet Nam. Photo: IAEA Imagebank (CC BY 2.0)

How Universal Health Coverage in Thailand and Viet Nam Helped Mitigate the Impact of COVID-19

Strong commitments toward achieving universal health coverage (UHC) made by some developing member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), including Greater Mekong Subregion members Thailand and Viet Nam, prepared these countries to better manage the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.  

GMS in the News

Green Finance Strategies for Post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery in Southeast Asia: Greening Recoveries for Planet and People

This publication examines innovative finance mechanisms for government recovery strategies that can incentivize green infrastructure investment in developing Asia and support the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.


Passengers at the Yangon Myanmar Railway Station in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by ADB.

$30 Million ADB Loan to Scale Up Myanmar’s COVID-19 Health Response

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $30 million loan to boost Myanmar’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, especially in areas with a high minority population but inadequate access to health care and other essential services.

GMS in the News