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What can countries in Asia learn from the Republic of Korea and Malaysia about sanitation and its economic impacts?
By Vedanti Kelkar. Posted January 19, 2018
In 2014, when I first moved to the Republic of Korea from India, I was impressed and awestruck by the country’s infrastructure and ease of mobility. Being an architect, the aspect I found most endearing of the city-wide master planning was the access and provision of toilets almost everywhere, be it at metro train stations, bus terminals, shopping plazas, parks, or even on mountain hikes. The convenience of having clean and hygienic toilets in public places was truly a gift for me during my stay there for a few years.
By Jillian Wate. Posted August 10, 2017
The Pacific Island region is made up of 22 island countries and the territories of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. There is great cultural diversity in the region, with about 1,200 languages spoken and a variety of exotic cultures. Surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, the land mass of the countries varies considerably.
Africa and Asia are latecomers to urbanization. In these two continents, less than half live in urban centers, while elsewhere, more than 70% of people do. But Africa and Asia are now rapidly urbanizing, with Asian cities growing at an average of 1.5% per year and Africa’s at 1.1% per year.
By Wankyo Chung. Posted April 26, 2017
Obesity is a state of excessive body fat accumulation and is difficult to measure. Body mass index (BMI)—defined as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters—has been used traditionally for its simplicity and the availability of data. Although shortcomings of using BMI have been acknowledged, its correlation with body fat percentage and its sensitivity in diagnosing obesity based on the body fat percentage have been verified for Korean people (Chung et al. 2016).
When we talk about the cost of being obese, many people will imagine the personal spending due to obesity, e.g. special clothing, housing, and transportation that may be different from the requirements of non-obese people, or even the medical expenses arising from obesity-related illnesses. Some people may also consider the cost of becoming obese, such as excessive consumption of high-calorie foods and sweetened beverages.
By Anshul Pachouri. Posted August 9, 2016
The countries comprising the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives) commonly known as South Asia face serious healthcare affordability and accessibility challenges. According to World Bank national estimates, South Asian countries houses more than 390 million poor people and a very significant percentage of total population lies below national poverty line (Figure 1). This large number of population is quite unlikely to afford private healthcare services and heavily dependent on the public healthcare facilities.
New ADBI research (Aizawa and Helble, forthcoming) studies how overweight and obesity have become major threats to public health in Indonesia. The evidence shows that obesity, which was previously a problem among high-income groups in the country, has spread across all income groups. Obesity in the lower-income groups, in particular, has been rising rapidly. Overweight and obesity significantly increase the risk of suffering from a large number of chronic conditions. Lower income groups are particularly ill-prepared to face continuously high health expenditures, as health systems remain weak. Urgent policy action is needed to mitigate the risk of these groups of falling into poverty due to high health expenditures caused by diseases related to obesity.
By Susann Roth. Posted January 6, 2016
If you live in Asia and the Pacific, do you ever wonder how high your risk is of contracting antimicrobial-resistant bacteria or emerging infectious diseases such as a new strain of avian influenza? Unfortunately, I have to tell you that the risk here is higher that in any other region in the world.
Universal health coverage (UHC) has become a key agenda of policy makers in many countries. According to the definition of the World Health Organization (2010), UHC is the goal that “all people have access to health services and do not suffer financial hardship in paying for them.” In most developing countries, the goal of UHC is not easy to reach due to the fact that large, resource-poor populations have limited access to health services. Given that resource-poor people cannot afford out-of-pocket health expenditures, or can only afford them by sacrificing other priorities, a health financing system where people are required to pay for use directly is one of the major barriers to reaching UHC. Although cost sharing is necessary to prevent the overutilization of health services arising from the potential problem of moral hazard, universal coverage is more likely to be reached when the out-of-pocket ratio for direct payment is sufficiently low.
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