Strengthening Regional Cooperation, Coordination, and Response to Health Concerns in the ASEAN Region: Status, Challenges, and Ways Forward
Health and well-being of the population are a precondition for any successful country or region. All regions have their specific health challenges that vary according to geographic, social, cultural, and economic conditions. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as a well-established regional actor, has a great potential to influence the health condition of its population through various measures and at different levels. Individual states have the key role to play in protecting and promoting health especially as regional cooperation for health is becoming more important. This paper examines regional and sub-regional health concerns of Southeast Asia focusing on the 10 ASEAN Member States: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam. It aims to give an overview of the Southeast Asian region's existing cooperation in health with regional and global actors; describe the current status of health - maternal and child mortality, communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, health systems, and health financing; and provide recommendations on strengthening regional cooperation, coordination, and responses to existing and emerging health challenges, and improving health systems to meet the future needs of the region.