Joint Statement of the 4th ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers Meeting

Singapore  23 July 2010

We, the Health Ministers of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea met on 23 July 2010, in Singapore.

United by the common aim of improving the health situation in the region, we discussed progress in implementing joint activities in the health sector and we explored areas for future collaboration. 

“Healthy People, Healthy Region”

We recognised that in this era of globalisation and industrialisation, health systems in the region are faced with the “dual burden” of infectious diseases (such as HIV and AIDS, avian and pandemic influenza, and other emerging infectious diseases); and , chronic and lifestyle-related diseases (such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and mental illnesses).

We have agreed to address the potential challenges that the health sector is facing, through increased regional cooperation and collaboration. We have tasked the ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials to review existing cooperation activities and develop a framework of cooperation and cooperation plan in order to strengthen our collaboration.

Healthcare Reform

We noted the disparities of health services accessibility among different groups and changing population demographics. We acknowledged a need to have continuous healthcare reform to deliver good quality, affordable, equitable and sustainable healthcare services for our people. 

We expressed strong interest for greater collaboration on healthcare reform in areas such as healthcare financing development, human resources development, and healthcare technology.  We task our senior officials to consider avenues for realising such collaboration, through policy dialogues or even cross attachments through fellowships programme.

ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation in Health

We realised the urgency of meeting the MDGs by 2015.  The ASEAN Plus Three cooperation provides a valuable platform for helping the countries in the region speed up the timetable of realising this important target.

We have noted the progress made in ASEAN Plus Three collaboration in health since we first met in 2004.  We support the development of collaborative networks in the areas of health promotion; capacity building for health professionals; human resource development, addressing infectious diseases; developing traditional, complementary and alternative medicine; and formulating policy coherence for health and social welfare development in ASEAN and Plus Three Countries. 

We welcome the achievements made by the ASEAN Plus Three Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) Programme, which was concluded on 30 June 2010.  We express appreciation to the Government of Australia for supporting the programme during its first and second phase, which aimed to enhance regional preparedness and capacity through integrated approaches to prevention, surveillance and timely response to emerging infectious diseases, including avian and pandemic influenza.

We endorse the establishment of the ASEAN Plus Three Partnership Laboratories (APL) to further strengthen the laboratory surveillance and networking within the region.  We thank the National Institute of Infectious Diseases of Japan (NIID) for the support of the ASEAN Plus Three Partnership Laboratories, by providing capacity building in laboratory diagnosis and for providing laboratory test kits.

We noted that most of the emerging infectious diseases are of animal origin and acknowledged the need for greater collaboration between the animal health and the public health sectors on zoonoses. We therefore support the closer collaboration between animal and human health sectors.

We support the development of networking among field epidemiology training programmes in ASEAN and Plus Three Countries. 

Next ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers Meeting

We look forward to further exchanges of views on joint collaboration in health development at our next meeting in Thailand in 2012.