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Public Health

Overview

The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) is an intergovernmental, not-for-profit organisation which brings together the people of Asia and Europe to address common global challenges. It is the only permanent institution of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) political dialogue Process and is publicly funded by voluntary contributions from 53 ASEM Partners.

Public Health is one of ASEF’s seven key thematic areas. In this field, we engage governments, international organisations and civil society to share best practices and lessons learnt on public health issues related to infectious diseases, including risk communication for public health emergencies. We facilitate capacity-building and knowledge-sharing platforms that result in publications with recommended solutions for common public health challenges to combat future pandemics. We are part of the ASEM Initiative for Rapid Containment of Pandemic Influenza that supports pandemic preparedness and response across Asia and Europe.

Our Work

The ASEF Public Health Network (ASEF PHN) was launched in 2009 according to recommendations from ASEM Leaders at the 7th ASEM Summit in 2008. ASEF PHN is the “soft” component of this ASEM initiative, focusing on capacity building amongst ASEM partners. The "hard” component is the Stockpiling of anti-viral drugs and personal protective equipment (PPE). This comprises the visible part of pandemic preparedness.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many ASEM partners benefitted from this stockpile.

Every year, we organise the High-level Meeting on Risk Communication for Public Health Emergencies. In 2019, the focus was on risk communication beyond country borders (18-19 September 2019, Bangkok, Thailand). Attendees include the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the European Commission, various ASEM Ministries of Health, the Asian Development Bank, WHO and representatives from the private sector e.g. Thai Airways.

In 2019, we published the ASEM Partners’ Guide for Risk Communication for Public Health Emergencies with recommendations on “how can we include migrants and ethnic minorities”.

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