AEIR 2022



Premiered on:
15 Oct 2020 (Thursday)
1:30–3:00 pm (Manila)
Microsoft Teams Meeting

Regional Health Cooperation for a Safer ASEAN

COVID-19 weighs heavily on health systems and safety of individuals in ASEAN. As countries ponder to re-open their economies, regional actions to complement national efforts are important to ensure that a second wave of re-infection is managed and that cross-border cooperation are strengthened to ensure that essential medical supplies are available, strong health surveillance mechanism are in place, government policies and capacities are well coordinated, and a system for the distribution of vaccines is in place.

Ferdinal Moreno Fernando, MD, MDM MD, Assistant Director & Head of Health Division, (HD) ASEAN Human Development Directorate
Bio Presentation

Ferdinal Moreno Fernando, MD, MDM is currently the Assistant Director and Head of the Health Division of the Human Development Directorate (HDD), since 2011, under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Department (ASCCD) of ASEAN Secretariat.

Under his purview is the facilitation, coordination, initiation and management of the implementation of the ASEAN Post 2015 Health Development Agenda and its Work Programmes focused on Health Priorities involving promoting healthy lifestyles; responding to all hazards and emerging threats; strengthening health systems and access to care; and, ensuring food safety.

Rikard Elfving Senior Social Sector Specialist, Southeast Asia Department, ADB
Bio Presentation

Rikard Elfving is currently working on the regional health portfolio in the GMS-region with a specific focus on implementing the GMS-Health Cooperation Strategy. He is responsible for the Southeast Asia’s regional health security project and designing new projects on migration and health and regional public goods. In the past, he worked in East Asia designing and implementing health projects in the People’s Republic of China and Mongolia, responsible for setting up the health financing partnership facility aimed at improving health outcomes in developing member countries (DMCs) and mobilize cofinancing from development partner agencies, the private sector, and foundations to support the implementation of ADB's Operational Plan of Health.

Panel Discussion:
James Villafuerte Senior Economist, Regional Cooperation and Integration Division, ERCD, ADB

James Villafuerte is a Senior Economist at the Regional Cooperation and Integration Division in the Economics Research and Regional Cooperation Department of the Asian Development Bank. Prior to joining the ADB, he worked as: a Team Leader of the Asia Regional Integration Center at the ADB; a Senior Economist at the Department of Treasury in Finance in Melbourne Australia; and an Economist at the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management team at the World Bank Office in Manila (2002-2004).

His areas of expertise include economic modelling, fiscal strategy, economic surveillance, early warning system, and tracking the progress of Economic Integration in Asia. He contributes regularly to the ADB’s flagship publication—the Asian Economic Integration Report—where he is now leading the preparation of the 2020/21 theme chapter on Making Digital Platforms: Work for Asia.

Mr. Villafuerte obtained his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Economics from the University of the Philippines. He has also completed training: a) on General Equilibrium Analysis at the Center of Policy Studies, Monash University; and b) on Global Trade Analysis in Purdue University in Indiana.

Dr. Nima Asgari Director, Asia Pacific Health Observatory (APO)

Dr. Nima Asgari is the Director of the APO. He joined the Secretariat on 10 October 2016. He has over 20 years of experience, working in public health development and health systems focusing on strategic planning and coordination of development across multiple partners.

Dr. Asgari has been with WHO since 2004, setting health system priority agendas in both global and country settings. Prior to joining APO, he coordinated WHO activities across key Thai public health agencies and international partners for non-communicable diseases, health related consequences of trade, health in all policies, and transformative health education.

In Cambodia and China, Dr. Asgari put into action his WHO headquarters experience, strengthening critical gaps of the health system to be able to respond to emerging diseases and comply with International Health Regulations. His persistent collaboration led to the development of a diagnostic microbiology laboratory network, routine surveillance system, and setting up of the modified Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in Cambodia.

Prior to joining WHO, Dr Asgari worked for the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency optimizing public health service delivery at local levels in London. He also worked on development evidence based national clinical management guidelines at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Dr. Nima Asgari received his medical degree as well as Bachelor’s degree in Parasitology from University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He has a Master’s degree in Public Health from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is a fellow of the Faculty of Public Health in England. He has numerous peer reviewed publications covering various aspects of emerging diseases.

Anna Fink Economist, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department (SDCC), ADB

Anna Fink is an Economist in the Regional Cooperation and Integration Thematic Group in the Sustainable Development and Climate Change department of ADB. She leads research and technical assistance relating to regional cooperation and integration with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Pacific and particularly regional public goods. This includes an ongoing technical assistance to support tourism cooperation and livestock trade between Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Prior to joining ADB, she worked as a natural resource economist and statistician with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and as a Consultant on trade facilitation and regional integration in East and Southern Africa. She has a Master’s degree in Development Management from the London School of Economics and has volunteered on several development projects in Africa and South America.

Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon Principal Health Specialist, SDCC, ADB

Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon is a Principal Health Specialist in the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department of the Asian Development Bank. He champions Universal Health Coverage and has long provided technical support on UHC to countries in Asia and the Pacific.

Before joining ADB in 2014, he was World Health Organization (WHO) regional adviser for health financing for the Eastern Mediterranean region and WHO health economist in Bangladesh, President and CEO of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, World Bank senior health specialist for the East Asia and Pacific region, and faculty member of the University of the Philippines’ College of Medicine and Ateneo Graduate School of Business