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Over 50 years ago, a pioneering medical system was launched in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Known as the “barefoot doctors” scheme, the program liberalized healthcare beyond doctors and allowed some 1.5 million community health workers to practice basic medicine after 3–6 months of training. This effectively created a national network of healthcare services for the very first time, increasing rural healthcare coverage to 90%.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has brought the world together, although in a somewhat disturbing manner. Every individual on the planet is hoping for relief from the pandemic via a cure for the afflicted and a vaccine for prevention. Notwithstanding the urgency of addressing this immediate problem, the world economy and society should use this challenge to undertake initiatives that last longer and hopefully forever.
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment is critical for achieving inclusive growth in Asia and can play a critical role in reducing the income inequality caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
By Pitchaya Sirivunnabood. Posted May 25, 2020
Asia is advancing toward becoming a gray society, though some countries are in the early stages and some are more advanced. The longevity revolution is being demonstrated through longer life expectancies due to medical innovation and improvements in medical care, as well as people having healthier lifestyles. Meanwhile, a continuously decreasing trend in fertility rates is being witnessed across the region. These two factors combined create the demographic transition of population aging. This demographic transition is not new, and its socioeconomic impacts have spread widely in many economies in Asia and the Pacific.
By Jayant Menon. Posted April 28, 2020
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its bigger counterpart ASEAN+3, comprising the 10 ASEAN members and the People’s Republic of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (ROK), have been slow to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. While they have been strenuously ramping up their efforts, more needs to be done, and quickly. There are many things they can do immediately, such as employing their machinery to increase consultation and cooperation to curb contagion—both medical and economic—and limit beggar-thy-neighbor policies.
The number of COVID-19 cases in many Asian developing countries is surprisingly low, but this may simply reflect inadequate levels of testing. The high correlation between rates of testing and per capita GDP strongly suggests that lower-income countries face a number of barriers to carrying out adequate testing. This raises the risk of rapid increases in infection rates in the future and points to the need for support for additional testing, as well as for increases in medical spending and general fiscal measures.
By Pitchaya Sirivunnabood. Posted April 9, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly become a severe global crisis, with a drastic spread in less than 2 months and shifts in its epicenter. Almost 1 million people have been infected with the virus around the world, and the number of deaths has shot up rapidly and continues to grow.
Developed countries can use advanced social security systems to protect households from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but developing countries face a bigger challenge. They typically have a large informal sector and limited social security coverage, which hinder the delivery of assistance at short notice. Yet, developing Asia is better equipped to cushion the economic impact of the current crisis compared to the global financial crisis of 2008.
Medical experts and institutions tell us that a critical but simple lifesaving action to reduce vulnerability to COVID-19 is literally in our own hands—regular handwashing with soap. Public awareness efforts underscore the need for greater behavioral compliance.
By Grant B. Stillman. Posted March 11, 2020
Unimaginable setbacks to Japan nine years ago from the triple disasters of the earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima emergency were used to pioneer new approaches to regional development and integrated reconstruction to build back better, safer, and greener.
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