Health

The emergence of regional and global health epidemics—including severe acute respiratory syndrome, avian influenza and H1N1 influenza—impacts not only the health sector but also agriculture, trade, tourism, transportation and business. APEC's wide-ranging economic work program makes it uniquely positioned to address the multi-sectoral impact of today's health threats.

In October 2003, APEC established the Health Task Force (HTF) to help address health-related threats to economies' trade and security, focusing mainly on emerging infectious diseases, including naturally occurring and man-made diseases.

In 2007, after a review of the APEC fora, the HTF was upgraded in status to become the Health Working Group (HWG).

To respond to the recommendations of the Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE), the HWG and Life Sciences Innovation Forum (LSIF) met in March 2011 in Washington DC, with the purpose of exploring possible areas of cooperation.

The HWG has launched several initiatives to introduce more substantive policy discussions into the working group’s activities as well better integrating APEC’s work within the broader global health agenda.

In addition to engaging with other APEC fora and international organizations like the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the Association of South East Asian Nations, the HWG has positioned itself as a regional health forum dedicated to demonstrating the value of health to economic growth and development and to building awareness of the return on investment on health innovation.

The HWG’s mandate, goal and the objectives are as follows:

Mandate

The mandate of the Health Working Group is to work with partners to improve people’s health and well-being, aiming to promote trade, security, inclusive growth and development in the APEC region.

Goal

The goal of the Health Working Group is to help reduce the impact of health-related threats to the economy, trade and security of member economies. The Health Working Group aims to strengthen health systems to increase their efficiency, responsiveness and resilience to achieve and maintain universal health coverage.

Objectives

  • To enhance preparedness and response to public health emergencies and disasters, including prevention and control of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases
  • To strengthen health systems to improve accessibility, sustainability and quality of healthcare
  • To support healthy populations across the life-course, including the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and improved maternal, newborn and child health
  • To encourage and facilitate collaboration between health and other sectors, other APEC fora and international health bodies

Last page update: November 2019

Current Activities

The Health Working Group (HWG) held two meetings in 2019 on the margins of the First Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) held in Santiago, Chile, and SOM3 (Puerto Varas, Chile). Both meetings surpassed quorum.

The 2019 HWG Work Plan reflects the importance of leveraging the group’s unique perspective as a regional health forum dedicated to demonstrating the value of health to economic growth and development and to building awareness of the return on investment of health innovation.

The HWG adopted the 2019 HWG work plan and theme “Supporting Health across the Life Course” and in 2019, the HWG’s mandate was actualized through activities focused on:

  • Health promotion and disease prevention
  • Enhanced access to care and services
  • Strengthening health systems for universal health coverage and sustainable development.

These activities spanned across a variety of governance, policy and technical deliverables.

Governance deliverables

HWG policy/technical deliverables

  • Policy discussion on immunization in the Asia-Pacific Region (SOM1 2019)
  • HWG Statement on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) presented to the United Nations High Level Meeting on UHC, 23 September 2019 in New York
  • Policy Dialogue on Health across the life course (SOM3 2019)

Cross-fora policy/technical deliverables

  • HWG co-chair presentation on cross-fora collaboration at Emergency Preparedness Working Group (EPWG) meeting (SOM3 2019)
  • Collaboration with Life Sciences and Innovation Forum (LSIF) to develop the 9th APEC High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy (HLM9) Joint Statement
  • Agreement to develop a “Dementia Spotlight” that compiles initiatives and projects addressing dementia in the Asia-Pacific region

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Achievements

Health

The “APEC Action Plan on the Prevention and Response to Avian and Influenza Pandemics” was developed in 2006 by the Health Task Force. The plan was endorsed at a special APEC Ministerial Meeting on Avian and Influenza Pandemics held in Da Nang, Viet Nam in May 2006.

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Contact Us

Dato’ Dr Chong Chee Kheong

Deputy Director General of Health (Public Health)
Ministry of Health Malaysia, Putrajaya, Malaysia
drchongck@moh.gov.my
Assisted by Ms Nurain Khairi nurain.khairi@moh.gov.my

Mr Michael PEARSON

Branch Head, Office of International Affairs for the Health Portfolio
Government of Canada
michael.pearson@canada.ca

Mr Johnny LIN

Program Director
jlhh@apec.org