Can ASEAN Achieve Universal Healthcare? (VIDEO)

Achieving universal health coverage is a goal that many countries strive towards. Will ASEAN see a day where everyone—including rural dwellers—has full access to affordable quality healthcare?

AsianScientist (Jul. 1, 2016) – Over the past decades, dialogue at the international level has endorsed healthcare as a fundamental human right.

Achieving universal healthcare coverage, or the access to healthcare that is both affordable and effective, is a key goal of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a political and economic organization of ten Southeast Asian countries.

In general, ASEAN nations have shown good progress towards achieving universal healthcare coverage, according to the 2014 report, Progress Toward Universal Health Coverage in ASEAN.

Nevertheless, out of the ten ASEAN member nations, only four—Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and Thailand—can currently attest to having full healthcare coverage. In addition, statistics from the World Health Organization show that there are only 8.5 doctors for every 10,000 people in ASEAN—a number far lower than that in the UK (28.1) and Germany (38.9).

Universal healthcare remains an complex issue and must include efforts to improve the number of skilled medical professionals handling births, the proportion of the population that is vaccinated, and healthcare infrastructure.

As ASEAN’s population continues to age, its leaders will have to step up on their efforts to achieve the common goal of affordable quality healthcare for all.


Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Claudia is a Communications major at Nanyang Technological University. When she was 13, she got a scar on her knee from falling down and swore never again to chase after a bus. She now spends her days doing safer things like reading, writing and practising Taekwondo.

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