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Health Issues in Asia and the Pacific

Health is a human right and is essential to development. Good health improves learning, worker productivity, and income. As such, health contributes to economic growth.

Asia is the fastest-growing and most dynamic region in the world, but government spending on public health is low and is often not focused on those who need it most. For many in the region, personal health expenses are a major cause of poverty.

Another major challenge facing Asia is disease control and prevention. Countries working together, which increases the movement of people across borders and the exchange of goods, can also spread diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

While the Asia and Pacific region is generally on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, this is not the case for reducing malnutrition and maternal mortality.

This section highlights the health issues and trends in developing Asia and the Pacific.

  • Maternal and Child Health

    Government spending on mothers, infants, and children is an investment with major social and economic returns. Households with healthier and better nourished mothers and children spend less on health care.

  • Communicable Diseases

    Regional integration, or the process of countries working together more closely, increases the ability of people to move across borders and trade goods.

  • Pandemics and Emerging Diseases

    An influenza pandemic in Asia and the Pacific would put the health of millions at risk and have serious economic consequences.

  • Strengthening Health Systems and Services

    Financing of health care is a major - and growing - policy challenge for many countries in Asia.