The role of regional organisations in dealing with global health challenges cannot be understated. Against current and emerging health threats, strong and effective regional collaboration in health security provides a critical pillar in advancing global health governance, allowing for significant interventions in building health systems capacity at national and regional level, improving disease surveillance and response, and strengthening international efforts in responding to a wide spectrum of global health challenges. While regional health cooperation in Asia has come a long way since the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome crisis and the establishments of regional frameworks in East Asia in fighting pandemics and infectious diseases, more can certainly be done to improve collective efforts to deal with emerging health issues such as climate-related diseases and antimicrobial resistance, as well as rising incidence of non-communicable diseases. The expanding regional and global health agenda should compel ASEAN to work closer toward a more comprehensive human security approach to health—one that does not prioritise pandemics over other health threats, while continuing to strengthen public health systems.
Last updated on 17/12/2019