Core Areas

ADB focuses on its core areas of expertise and works with partners to improve health in the region. It is shifting its emphasis from stand-alone projects to increasing the health impact of infrastructure operations, good governance and public expenditure management, regional public goods, and knowledge management.

ADB works closely in partnership with specialized agencies with technical expertise in health and other development partners with complementary technical skills, and on the expressed and clearly justified demand of the developing member country. ADB may also engage in stand-alone projects related to private sector operations or public-private partnerships.

Two long-term planning documents, Strategy 2020 and the Operational Plan for Improving Health Access and Outcomes under Strategy 2020, define ADB's approach to achieving positive health outcomes through its core areas of expertise.


ADB continues to support infrastructure development, including water supply and sanitation, which can significantly improve health outcomes, especially for the poor. Transport projects carefully consider the risks of traffic accidents, and the risk of spreading communicable diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and influenza. More.

Economic governance and public expenditure management

ADB focuses on governance work, dealing especially with public expenditure management for the cost-effective delivery of health programs and services: important issues when growing, economically better-off, and ageing populations in Asia mean large cost burdens on governments and households. More.

Regional public goods

ADB supports regional public goods, an obvious area for engagement given the social, economic, and health costs of cross-border transmission of infectious diseases. Challenges include pandemic preparedness, responses to environmental health and climate change, and global health security issues in this region. More.

Knowledge management and knowledge products

ADB-commissioned knowledge products for health draw on areas of ADB's competitive advantage and core areas of operation.

Community of practice

The Health Community of Practice (COP) plays a significant role in health sector development and in advocating for health in ADB. Formed in 2005, the COP aims to improve health sector performance by:

  • creating a strong community of health planners and practitioners,
  • stimulating and facilitating relevant knowledge management products,
  • improving sharing and learning of know-how and practices,
  • monitoring sector-related issues and performance, and
  • providing strategic advice to ADB.

ADB strives to maintain a critical mass of professional health expertise and to allocate adequate resources for regional technical assistance for health policy analysis and advice.