Large proportion of health expenditure in the region comes from out-of-pocket expenditure which has implications on poverty. Health financing systems in the region need to be more equitable and efficient.
Improving sector management, quality of care, affordability of care for the poor, and social protection against catastrophic illnesses are some of the key challenges.
Even where the burden of infectious diseases is low, this requires ongoing investment to keep it low. Besides, infectious diseases can cause epidemics and mostly affect the poor. Preventing infections like HIV saves huge future spending on treatment. While demand for curative services is outpacing supply, insufficient effort is being made in prevention of diseases.
Progress towards MDGs is mixed. In particular child malnutrition and maternal mortality remain off track. Progress is held back by growing inequity in terms of access to services, as well as substandard quality of care and adverse incentives for preventive, promotive, and life-saving work.
Good health care has multiple benefits including better learning, child care, and productivity. Improving quality and transparency of care also reduces wasting of household resources on poor treatment, a major factor of poverty.
Strategy 2020 recognizes health as one of the key development challenges in the region. Strategy 2020 envisages ADB's work in the health sector in line with its comparative advantages, financing needs, and demand from countries. Strategy 2020 emphasizes the role of partnership in enhancing access to health care for the poor.
ADB's role in the health sector is outlined in the Operational Plan.
ADB has been spearheading the work on HIV prevention in the transport sector in partnership with ministries of transport and national AIDS councils across the region. Specific tools and methodologies* have been developed to facilitate the work). Health impacts of traffic related air pollution and road safety are also being systematic addressed in projects and the dialogue with clients.
ADB has supported a study that highlights the main threats to health posed by climate change. The study also points out ADB's comparative advantage in addressing climate change and health.
The public-private partnership in the health sector is one of the key elements of the Operational Plan.
The Health COP provides a resource base and "home-base" for experts working in health, and undertakes advocacy, leadership, and knowledge management.