Health Cooperation

Countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion aim for Sustainable Development Goals for health. Through the Working Group on Health Cooperation, GMS countries are taking comprehensive, coordinated and proactive approaches to address regional health issues.


The Greater Mekong Subregion still experiences high incidence of communicable diseases and drug-resistant microorganisms. GMS countries also suffer from inefficient health systems due to lack of synergies, economies of scale, and scope; and there are few common solutions to common health problems.

The Working Group on Health Cooperation seeks to address collective action problems of regional health investments and limited resources for health that tend to prioritize national investments.

Regional health cooperation initiatives in the Greater Mekong Subregion focus on three strategic pillars:

Strategic Pillar 1: Health security as a regional public good tackles the subregion’s vulnerability to acute public health events. Ensuring robust national health systems with capacity to prevent, detect and respond to transnational health threats is the cornerstone of health security.

Strategic Pillar 2: Health impacts of connectivity and mobility responds to health challenges stemming from an increasingly interconnected GMS. Strengthening health systems in border areas where migrant and mobile populations pass and reside is an entry point for programming. Also includes. integrating health impact assessment during project planning and implementation of GMS urban and transport infrastructure projects.

Strategic Pillar 3: Health workforce development builds on the subregion’s existing human resource capacity to address common health challenges. Strong leadership in turn opens opportunities for intraregional capacity building, utilizing the subregions’ depth of health human resource and health programming experience to tackle shared health issues and enhance country efforts to attain Sustainable Development Goal targets.

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Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank

  • Rikard Elfving
    Head, WGHC Secretariat
    Sr. Social Sector Specialist
    Human and Social Development Division
    South Asia Department
  • Kyi Thar
    Public Health Specialist (Consultant),
    Human and Social Development Division
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Mario Randolph Dacanay
    Regional Coordinator/Health Cooperation Specialist (Consultant)
    Human and Social Development Division
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Marissa Espiritu
    Finance and Logistics Specialist (Consultant),
    Human and Social Development Division,
    Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat

Send inquiries to GMS Secretariat.


Human Resource Development

After more than 20 years, the Working Group on Human Resource Development was restructured in 2017 to focus on health, given the strategic importance of regional cooperation in this area.


Consequent to the review of the GMS Institutional Framework in 2016 and a separate review of the Strategic Framework and Action Plan for Human Resource Development in the GMS 2013–2017, GMS ministers endorsed the creation of the Working Group on Health Cooperation in 2017.

Human resource development, however, continues to be an important sector in the Greater Mekong Subregion. At an extraordinary meeting of the Working Group on Human Resource Development in Bangkok on 4 July 2017, participants agreed on the following key points:

  • Refocus the working group and its approach, given the new strategic direction toward health cooperation.
  • Continue to respond to demand for analysis and similar initiatives in higher education at the country level.
  • Cooperate with other development partners with expertise on labor and migration.
  • Integrate social development across all sectors of the GMS.
  • Develop the scope for a new Working Group on Health Cooperation.

Related



Seated from left: Mr. Sok Chenda Sophea, Minister attached to the Prime Minister, Minister in charge of GMS Cooperation Program/GMS Minister, Secretary General, Council for the Development of Cambodia, and Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, Vice President for ADB Operations in the Southeast Asia Department, the East Asia Department, and the Pacific Department at the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference. Photo by ADB.

ADB Affirms Support for Future GMS Initiatives 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) remains committed to supporting the future initiatives of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Program. Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, Vice President of ADB, reaffirmed ADB’s support in his speech at the recently-concluded 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference (MC-23). The MC-23 was Mr.

Events

Heads of GMS country delegations participate in the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference. Standing from left are Mr. Vu Dai Thang, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Viet Nam; Mr. Aung Htoo, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar; Ms. Cheng Lihua, Vice Minister, Ministry of Finance, PRC; Mr. Sok Chenda Sophea, Minister attached to the Prime Minister, Minister in charge of GMS Cooperation Program/GMS Minister, Secretary General, Council for the Development of Cambodia; Mr. Viengsavath Siphandone, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Lao PDR; Mr. Thaworn Senneam, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Transport, Thailand; and Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, Vice President for ADB Operations in the Southeast Asia Department, the East Asia Department, and the Pacific Department. Photo by ADB.

23rd Ministerial Conference of the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program

The Royal Government of Cambodia and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) organized the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference on 17-18 November 2019 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with the theme “Greater Integration, Inclusivity and Sustainability in the GMS.”  The meeting brought together GMS Ministers and Senior Officials of the six GMS countries—Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Lao People’s Democratic

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Meeting plenary at the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference held on 18 November 2019 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo by Asian Development Bank.  

GMS Ministers Launch 5-year Regional Health Cooperation Strategy

Ministers of the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries launched the GMS Health Cooperation Strategy 2019–2023, which provides a framework to guide GMS countries in collectively tackling health issues impacting the subregion through regional cooperation at the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference (MC-23) held on 18 November 2019 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Articles

Children attending school in a resettlement village near the Nanai Reservoir in Phôngsali province of the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Photo by Ariel Javellana/ Asian Development Bank

GMS Risk Communication Specialists Stress Importance of Regional Approach for Health Emergencies 

Risk communication is a critical component of countries’ effective response to health emergencies. This is why it is one of the focus areas of the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases (APSED), the common strategic framework for World Health Organization member countries of the Asia Pacific region to effectively detect, prepare for, and respond to threats posed by emerging infectious diseases. Risk communication helps inform decision making, encourage positive behavior change, and maintain public trust.  

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Phnom Penh skyline reflecting the city's rapid growth. The Central Market, built in 1937, is seen in the foreground. Photo by Lor Teng Huy - own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

GMS Ministers to Gather in Phnom Penh for the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference

The Ministers of the six member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) are set to lay the groundwork for the preparation for the 7th GMS Summit of Leaders. 

Hosted by the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference (MC-23) will take place in Phnom Penh on 18 November 2019, with the theme "Greater Integration, Inclusivity and Sustainability in the GMS.”   

Articles

Writeshop to Finalize the Strategic Results Framework and Prepare Regional Action Plan for the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Health Cooperation Strategy 2019‒2023

The Asian Development organized the Writeshop to Finalize the Strategic Results Framework and Prepare Regional Action Plans for the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Health Cooperation Strategy 2019‒2023 on 2627 September 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Events

Regional Exchange Workshop on Malaria Interventions Among Mobile Migrant Populations

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) in coordination with International Organization for Migration
(IOM) organized the Regional Knowledge Exchange Workshop on Malaria Interventions Among
Mobile Migrant Populations in Bangkok on 17 to 18 May 2018 to share successes, challenges,
and lessons learned during the implementation of RCDTA 8959-REG: Malaria and
Communicable Diseases Control in the GMS. 

Events