ADB's Core Areas of Focus in the Health Sector

ADB is focusing on its core areas of expertise to support programs that improve health in Asia and the Pacific. These are:


ADB works to optimize the health impacts of infrastructure operations, especially in water and sanitation, and to mitigate possible adverse health impacts such as road accidents and the transmission of communicable diseases (particularly HIV/AIDS) in transport projects. This is achieved by improving project design and implementation, and by monitoring health and social indicators, in particular for women and the poor.

  • HIV/AIDS prevention
    ADB has been spearheading the work on HIV prevention in the transport sector across the region. The Sustainable Transport Initiative is working to incorporate HIV prevention into transport projects, such as road construction. ADB has also developed the Practice Guidelines for Harmonizing HIV Prevention Initiatives in the Infrastructure Sector for the Greater Mekong Subregion. These guidelines assist in preventing the spread of HIV when major infrastructure projects are undertaken in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
  • Water and sanitation
    Focusing on water and sanitation in order to improve health is a major focus of ADB. The ADB Water Policy recognizes the impact of water scarcity and quality on health, particularly that of the poor. ADB promotes wide-ranging public awareness and community education programs, especially among women, to help communities understand the links between water, sanitation, and health.

Economic governance and public spending management

Financing of health care has become a major policy challenge for many countries in Asia and the Pacific. ADB continues to use its resources to help improve economic governance in health service delivery. In particular, ADB's health sector governance projects focus on:

  • public spending
  • public and private health services
  • health care financing
  • human resources
  • decentralization of health systems

Regional public goods and knowledge management

ADB supports regional partnerships, studies, and initiatives in the health sector due to the social, economic and health costs of cross-border infectious diseases. This includes pandemic preparedness, responses to environmental health and climate change, and global health security issues. ADB-commissioned knowledge products for health draw on areas of ADB expertise and operations.

ADB supports these health-related regional partnerships, studies, and alliances: