fbpx ADB's Focus on Health: Overview | Asian Development Bank

Health

Good health boosts learning, worker productivity, and income. ADB is committed to improving health in Asia and the Pacific by supporting better governance, more water and sanitation infrastructure, and regional collaboration.

ADB's Work in the Health Sector

The doctor vaccinates a child at the Makabayan Barangka Drive Health Center during a vaccination drive in Mandaluyong City, Philippines.
The doctor vaccinates a child at the Makabayan Barangka Drive Health Center during a vaccination drive in Mandaluyong City, Philippines. Photo: Veejay Villafranca/ADB

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.

Featured Multimedia

COVID-19 Vaccines and Variants to Shape Developing Asia’s Growth Path

ADB is trimming its 2021 economic growth outlook for developing Asia to 7.1%, while the forecast for 2022 is raised to 5.4%. New variants, outbreaks, lockdowns, and slow and uneven vaccine rollouts are weighing down the region’s prospects.

Contacts/Experts

Health Issues in Asia and the Pacific

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

Communicable Diseases

Communicable Diseases

Infectious disease affects many aspects of society. The prevention and control of HIV and other communicable diseases requires countries and development agencies to work together.

Maternal and Child Health

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 healthcare.

Pandemics and Emerging Diseases

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. According to ADB research, it could lower Asia's growth rate to zero and reduce the global trade of goods and services by 14%.

Strengthening Health Systems and Services

Strengthening Health Systems and Services

Financing of health care is a major - and growing - policy challenge for many countries in Asia. Although Asia has been the fastest-growing and most dynamic region in the world for decades, many governments in Asia spend less than $10 per person per year on health care.