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WHO Convenes Lawmakers From Southeast Asia To Discuss Bolstering Of Health Systems In Region

This week the WHO brought together lawmakers from across Southeast Asia in Bangkok “to discuss how to bolster their health systems back home,” IRIN reports. Meeting participants were “called on to advocate the boosting of health spending, workforces and access to health care in their home countries in addition to drafting ‘healthy public policies,’ such as conducting health assessments before large infrastructural projects are undertaken,” the news service writes.

“Many health systems in the region … are ill-equipped to meet growing challenges of non-communicable diseases, including diabetes and cancer; long-term care in a region with one of the world’s largest concentrations of aging persons; and the economic incentive to prevent diseases rather than face ‘skyrocketing costs’ of treatment, said Samlee Pilanbangchang, WHO regional director in Southeast Asia,” according to IRIN. “Most countries in the region spend less than the internationally recommended five percent of gross domestic product (GDP) or 34 purchasing power parity (PPP) dollars per person per year needed to ensure basic health care,” the news service notes, and provides statistics on health care spending in various countries in the region (3/20).