Addressing Health Threats in the Central Asia regional Economic Cooperation Countries & the Caucasusreats

Year: 2021-2023

Client: Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Project Description:

In 2020, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved the Knowledge and Support Technical Assistance (KSTA) 6535 “Addressing Health Threats in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Countries and the Caucasus”.

Even though all countries in the region are successfully reducing their infectious disease burden, the region remains vulnerable to outbreaks from epidemic-prone Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) and Transboundary Animal Diseases (TAD), as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) demonstrates.

The goal of better health outcomes can be achieved through more regional cooperation by leveraging economies of scale across different health system building blocks, through cross-sector collaboration, and by allowing for cross-country learning and information exchange. Effective regional cooperation that considers the needs of the vulnerable (the elderly, women, children, and persons with disabilities) and of communities residing in border areas is essential for containing rapidly spreading cross-border infectious diseases. It will be essential to distil lessons and experiences from the COVID-19 pandemic when assessing the need for more regional health cooperation.

Although regional agreements abound among Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) countries, CAREC is the only body with a regional scope covering all 11 countries. Health is part of the operational priority area for human development in the CAREC 2030 strategic framework.1 The framework envisages strengthening regional health cooperation of the CAREC countries.

Activities performed:

  • Provided rapid analysis and gather information on health systems, health sector reforms and capacity to respond to infectious disease outbreaks, including COVID-19 in countries in the region. Analysis shall include components of health systems and specific health sector reforms to respond to infectious disease outbreaks, that address needs of women and other vulnerable groups
  • Produced briefs and summaries of analysis as needed;
  • Conducted desk reviews and proactively reach out to partners, ADB project units and consultants as needed to gather information and material;
  • Regularly surveyed and analyzed emerging knowledge, lessons learnt and global best practice responding to COVID-19 and share knowledge with ADB and Developing Member Countries (DMCs) regularly;
  • Research, compile and provide updates on COVID-19 related evidence-based innovative interventions and best practices globally, including innovative measures to address specific needs of women and other vulnerable groups which countries in the region can explore;
  • Provided inputs to the development of the CAREC health strategy 2030 and coordinated the different inputs.
  • Provided inputs to the consultative process for the investment framework suggesting investment areas with potential in terms of regional Innovation and Research to the DMCs;
  • Prepared knowledge products and contents for policy paper