Regional: Greater Mekong Subregion Regional Communicable Diseases Control Project
The economic impact of cross-border transmission and the spread of emerging and epidemic infectious diseases on tourism, trade, and productivity can reach billions of US dollars. Within the framework of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) economic cooperation program, the ADB supported a grant-financed project to help three GMS countries—Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Viet Nam—mitigate increased risks from greater transmission of communicable diseases resulting from greater connectivity for goods and services.
The project aimed to improve containment of epidemic diseases at the local, national, and regional levels and reduce the burden of common endemic diseases by about 15% in 26 provinces. Its outputs include (i) comprehensive national surveillance and response systems, (ii) expanded and integrated CDC for vulnerable groups, and (iii) productive regional coordination for communicable disease control.
Overall, the project was rated successful.
The evaluation recommended that ADB efforts to improve country capacity and regional coordination for communicable disease control could consider developing partnerships with established organizations that have longer-term presence. ADB support for complementary investments in technological infrastructure for health management information systems, geographic information systems, and curriculum development for field epidemiology would be essential. New ADB support in this area could build on the trust and networks already, to support further strengthening of policy and framework agreements, harmonization of practices and approaches, and set regional standards for goods and services. For any new regional initiative on communicable disease control, addressing the emerging issue of food safety, and strengthening links between animal and human health, would be crucial. Pandemic preparedness is best supported in the context of disaster preparedness, with a multisector and multi-hazard approach, and business continuity plans.