Containing Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases in Asia

How prepared is Asia for pandemic and epidemic diseases? While efforts by national governments
and international organizations to prevent and control pandemics in the region have been
instrumental in mitigating disaster in the short-term, they have also exposed more systemic
weaknesses that call into question Asia’s preparedness for future outbreaks. Future preparedness is
important, because infectious diseases of a global or regional nature threaten the health and lives
of large numbers of people as well as paralyze economic activity. Asia is particularly susceptible
due to increasing migration and global travel, high population density in urban areas, more rapid
spread of tropical diseases because of climate change, and underdeveloped healthcare systems.
However, accurate calculations of what and how much effort and money to invest in preparedness
and response plans are also important, as overreaction has proven to be costly. The key question,
then, is how governments, international organizations, and businesses in the region can
collaborate to build systemic safeguards against pandemics and epidemics, as well as ensure rapid
action to minimize economic and social costs when unexpected diseases hit.

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Containing Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases in Asia (PDF)