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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.

Contribution to Operational Priorities

To address operational priorities, ADB offers integrated solutions combining expertise across a range of sectors and themes. These solutions will be delivered through an appropriate mix of public and private sector operations that are best suited to the specific needs on the ground.

The following are the health sector's contributions to ADB's operational priorities.

Accelerating progress in gender equality

  • Reduce remaining maternal mortalities in the region.
  • Address women’s priority needs in affordable and quality health care services and financing. 
  • Expand support to women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, and reduce gender-based violence, drawing on a life cycle approach in collaboration with non-health interventions.
  • Reduce early pregnancy, child marriage, and sex-selective abortions through effective public campaigns, health provider training, and focus on adolescent girls and boys.
  • Increase applications of digital health services to support women’s health.
  • Address men’s health and safety issues such as road accidents, disability, and alcohol and drug abuse, as they directly impact welfare of women as family caretakers and their economic security.
  • Invest in building skills and capacity of health workers (predominantly women) particularly in rural areas.

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Tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability

  • Institute actions to mitigate and enhance the climate change and disaster resilience of health facilities and the health system, in general, such as through adopting low-carbon technologies and decreasing medical waste.
  • Monitor direct and indirect costs of adverse health impacts of climate change and disasters.

Making cities more livable

  • Improve the quality of urban health services and monitor the health effects of those residing in cities.
  • Encourage urban planning and design to improve health by providing appropriate transport and housing choices, reducing wastewater overflows and pollution, and improving both citizen physical and mental health.

Promoting rural development and food security

  • Assist in promoting and tracking production and sale of safe and nutritious food.
  • Raise awareness, promote intake of nutritious foods, and improve nutrition security. Improve access to health services in rural areas especially with high-level technologies such as telemedicine.
  • Monitor improved nutritional status, particularly reduced chronic undernutrition of children.

Strengthening governance and institutional capacity

  • Develop service delivery standards in the health sector.
  • Improve citizens’ access to quality health services.
  • Develop a clear strategic direction for health policy development and implementation; better articulate the case for health in national development.
  • Formulate strategic health policy frameworks with built-in systems for effective oversight, regular monitoring and evaluation, and citizen participation and partnerships.
  • Improve oversight and accountability mechanisms for health sector institutions.
  • Promote collaboration among government, civil society, and the private sector in achieving health policy outcomes and strengthening national health systems.
  • Improve availability of timely and quality data for planning, implementing, and monitoring programs and projects in the health sector.

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Fostering regional cooperation and integration

Support member countries to develop regional, multicountry, cross-border, and multisector responses to communicable disease control resulting in increased health security by building resilient, efficient, and responsive health systems.

Operational Plan for Health, 2015–2020

ADB’s vision for the health sector

ADB launched an Operational Plan for Health 2015-2020 in June 2015. The plan describes how ADB will support developing member countries in achieving universal health coverage. Key priorities are in investing in health infrastructure, health governance and financing - all underpinned by investments in information and communications technology and public-private partnerships. 

The plan provides a focused approach for addressing the health needs of ADB developing member countries by leveraging loans and grants to achieve Universal Health Coverage through strategic investments in health infrastructure, health sector governance, and health financing.

The Operational Plan for Health (OPH), 2015–2020 provides a wide range of integrated strategies and solutions to assist ADB developing member countries in meeting the United Nations post-2015 goal of expanding public and private health services. It includes provisions for increasing ADB health sector investments in the Asia and Pacific region from 1% to 2% (2014) of our total portfolio to 3% to 5% by 2020.

The OPH offers sustainable solutions built on ADB experience and focusing on three ADB strengths:

I. Health Infrastructure. The plan provides ways to optimize health outcomes and increase health care coverage through infrastructure projects, such as health facilities and hospitals; and shows how to ensure that infrastructure is integrated into health systems, managed and staffed efficiently, and properly operated with sustainable financing. It also indicates ways to enhance health outcomes from non-health sector investments such as water and sanitation and urban development.

II. Health Governance. The plan shows how health care can be rationalized through good governance and regional public goods by strengthening institutions, planning, financial management, health information, and regulatory systems.

III. Health Financing. The plan offers methods for expanding health care though innovative financing that promotes allocation and technical efficiency.

Taking a new direction, the OPH features health care strategies that:

  • Can steer the region toward outcome-driven practices and away from output-based business as usual;
  • Support innovative, evidence-based approaches—underpinned by ICT—for building and managing health services;
  • Foster investments in integrated and cost-effective programs that expand the supply of public and private health services and offer financing to create health-services demand;
  • Promote public–private partnerships that lead to larger lending amounts and reduced transaction costs;
  • Cultivate co-financing to develop new business and innovative activities; and
  • Mainstream gender to take advantage of the role women play as health care drivers.

The ADB OPH provides health sector managers and specialists with a framework for promoting operational activities that:

  • Can improve and expand health care in low- and middle-income countries;
  • Offer new and innovative ways to strengthen existing programs and implement new ones; and
  • Ensure health care quality, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

For anyone interested in health care, the ADB OPH offers a concrete plan for achieving improved and sustainable health outcomes that pave the way to universal health care.

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