USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia: Health Activities

Speeches Shim

Health has improved in most countries in Asia over the last several decades.  However, public health threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic underscore critical remaining gaps in the insufficient and overstretched health systems, compromising their ability to respond effectively and rapidly. 

Countries in Asia continue to face challenges controlling the spread of infectious diseases that cross national borders, including HIV, emerging viral pandemic threats, malaria, and tuberculosis.   In support of USAID’s Journey to Self-Reliance, the USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia (RDMA) addresses these challenges by strengthening health systems, improving access to quality health services, increasing effective policies, and improving implementation.


With the global population expected to soar to nine billion by 2050, increased demand for animal-source foods, agricultural intensification, and landscape alterations bring the humans and animals of Asia into unprecedented levels of contact, sparking epidemics and pandemics.  Over the last two decades alone, SARS, Ebola, Zika, influenza, and the COVID-19 virus illustrate the accelerated pace and magnitude of impact that pandemic threats pose to the global community.  USAID programs strengthen country capacities to prevent, rapidly detect, and contain emerging infectious diseases at their source before they threaten global public health.  By tracking emerging trends, such as rising rates of antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial use in livestock production, USAID supports targeted solutions to mitigate disease risk while enhancing social and economic impact response.  Through a network of partnerships, USAID support safeguards public health, food security, and resilient livelihoods in Asia and around the world.


Increasing HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, and transgender women is a growing concern, especially in Asia.  As part of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, USAID/RDMA works in partnership with host governments and civil society across 12 countries to control the epidemic by using effective, data-driven strategies to reach, test, treat, and retain high risk populations in prevention and clinical services.  In 2018 alone, USAID/RDMA-supported activities in the region reached more than 65,000 people facing elevated HIV infection risks through prevention testing services, provision of pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV acquisition, and strengthened referral networks so that people living with HIV can initiate treatment early and stay virally suppressed.  The program also uses social media and mobile technology to increase demand for lifesaving HIV services and helps providers become more efficient and sensitized in reaching and retaining clients.  USAID helps countries stop the spread of HIV by supporting catalytic interventions in HIV prevention, care, and treatment to demonstrate success for scale-up.


In the Greater Mekong Subregion, malaria remains a public health concern despite the considerable progress made in the past decade towards reducing malaria morbidity and mortality rates.  Worsened by the emergence and spread of resistance to antimalarial drugs, inadequate access to prompt diagnosis and treatment (particularly among migrants) remains a challenge throughout the subregion.  Through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, USAID provides technical assistance along the malaria continuum of care–from prevention, diagnosis, and treatment to national program capacity and malaria surveillance systems strengthening to accelerate malaria elimination efforts.  With USAID’s support, countries in the GMS have established a surveillance network to monitor anti-malarial drug resistance to improve treatment outcomes and policies. 

Last updated: November 20, 2020

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