Many African and Asian countries face similar health care challenges. More than half of the people in Africa go to the mostly unregulated private health care sector to get diagnosed and treated, and they pay out-of pocket. The same is true for Asia and the Pacific.
Susann works on ADB’s innovation and knowledge management agenda. In this role she supports the implementation of Strategy 2030, which calls for more applications of technology, innovation, and strengthening knowledge management in ADB operations. Susann also works on corporate foresight to enhance the capacity of ADB and its clients to respond to and plan for emerging trends. Follow her on Twitter: @ADB_SusannR.
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Ebola was a wake-up call for countries and the wider international aid community that have not invested enough in strengthening health systems. The outbreak has shown that we need to improve the way we manage outbreak responses, and that more needs to be done to prepare us for pandemics.
The Asia Pacific region has scored many successes in its march to reverse the HIV and AIDS epidemic in a number of countries, starting with Thailand, Cambodia, and India. But the region still faces serious challenges with other countries like Pakistan, Philippines, and Indonesia reporting rising epidemic levels. Initial successes in scaling up treatment and prevention programs have left some political leaders and policymakers complacent.
When ADB recently hosted a conference on using information and communication technology (ICT) in universal health coverage, it was vital not to miss the opportunity to pin down practical steps that participants could commit to taking in their own workplace. The conference culminated in the iCTen Steps: practical next steps with both quick wins and some longer-term goals that can be adapted to specific country settings, regardless of where they are on the road to universal health coverage.
ICT can bridge the gap between existing health systems and universal health coverage, but it’s a complex process and every country has its own challenges.
As the world marks International Day of Action for Women's Health, maternal deaths are an uncomfortable reminder that much work still needs to be done. Indonesia is a case in point. While it is one of the fast growing economic powerhouses in Asia it is also experiencing a worrying rise in maternal deaths.