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Towards Justice in Health in ASEAN?

31 January, 2018 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Over the past decade, most ASEAN countries have enjoyed relatively rapid economic development which was accompanied by significant poverty reduction, a comprehensive improvement in education system, and an increase in life expectancy (ASEAN MDG 2017). The progress in population health statistics, however, lack behind with much slower improvement in some health targets such as maternal mortality or tuberculosis incidence. Disparities among the countries persist and internal disparities even increased in some countries due to uneven socio-economic and health development. Women ‘s unique health needs are poorly addressed and access to health care for vulnerable populations such as migrants or stateless populations remains a major challenge.

These conditions are increasingly affected by regional integration processes unleashed by the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Although not many in the region are aware, health care is one of the 11 prioritized sectors for accelerated liberalization being viewed as highly attractive for business. Still-to-be-implemented harmonization measures are meant to free up the cross-border flows of health products and services. Member states are committed to lifting all restrictions on the cross-border supply of health care, such as telemedicine, and on healthcare consumption abroad through medical tourism. They have also agreed to up to 70 percent share ownership in healthcare businesses for ASEAN investors and to the movement of mutually recognized health professionals, particularly doctors, nurses and dentists.[i]

In this rapidly changing context, questions about the distribution of financial and human resources in health among counties and groups in the region become more pressing to ensure adequate health protection and promotion for all and, as promised by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda, no-one is left behind.

The panel discussion organized by SEA Junction in collaboration with the Equity Initiative, Ashoka Thailand, and the Foundation for Leadership Development Network for Health on 31 January at 5.30-7PM will reflect on these health equity issues in the ASEAN countries. Particular attention will be given to implications of regional development and regionalization processes on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups and to policies and interventions that are or could be pro-equity.


The program is as follows:

Rosalia Sciortino, Introduction to the event
Director SEA Junction & Assoc. Professor, IPSR, Mahidol University

Panel discussion moderated by Piya.Hanvoravongchai, The Equity Initiative Co-Director and Faculty at the Thailand Research Center for Health Services System at Chulalongkorn University, with the following speakers and tentative topics:

Kai Hong Phua, “Equity Trends in Southeast Asia: An Overview”
Faculty Health Policy and Management, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

Rashidah Shuib, “Gender and Health Issues in Southeast Asia: Mind the Gap?”
Professor, School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Eduardo P. Banzon, “Roaming Health Insurance”
Principal Health Specialist, Asian Development Bank and Former President and CEO Philippine Health Insurance Corporation

Jon Ungpakorn, “Universal Health Coverage as a Human Right in the Context of Southeast Asia”
Director iLaw and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee

From Abdullah Cholil, Meiwita Budiharsana & Rosalia Sciortino (1999) The Life Saver: The Mother Friendly Movement in Indonesia. Yogyakarta: Galang Press


NB: The event is free, but donations are most welcome

For information/reservation for our events please email southeastasiajunction@gmail.com or phone/wa: +66970024140

About the Organizers:

SEA Junction, OUR Venue on Southeast Asia

SEA Junction aims to foster understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asia in all its socio-cultural dimensions –from arts and lifestyles to economy and development. Conveniently located at Room 408 of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre or BACC (across MBK, BTS National Stadium) SEA junction facilitates public access to knowledge resources and exchanges among students, practitioners and Southeast Asia lovers. For more information see www.seajunction.org and join the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1693055870976440/

The Equity Initiative (EI)

EI has two objectives: to cultivate and nurture the next generation of leadership through its fellowship program, and to build a collaborative community for promoting health equity in the region. EI is linked to global and regional institutions and partners, world-class expertise and knowledge, with long-term vision and committed sustained support, backed by a pooled fund from The Atlantic Philanthropies and the China Medical Board. See http://www.equityinitiative.org

Ashoka Thailand

Ashoka is the largest global network of social entrepreneurs with 3,000 fellows in over 70 countries. Since 1989, Ashoka Thailand has served as one of the leading players in the development of the local social entrepreneurship sector. See http://thailand.ashoka.org

Foundation for Leadership Development Network for Health (LN4H) 
LN4H aims to prepare individuals for leadership in our complex world and supports collective leadership network. It seeks potential leaders for health from various backgrounds (government. NGOs. education, media, law, health sciences etc.) to participate in an intensive capacity building program and networking process. Since 2009, 144 fellows have contributed to public health policies and to addressing issues in health equity and health promotion.  See http://www.wasi.or.th/wasi/index.php


[i] Part of background text adapted from Rosalia Sciortino, Whose Health ASEAN Community? http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/03/17/whose-healthy-asean-community.html)



31 January, 2018
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


BACC, Meeting Room 501, 5th floor
939 Rama 1 Rd, Pathum Wan, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330 Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand
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