(Washington, DC) - The US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) today hosted a Senior Leaders Forum on U.S.-ASEAN Health Cooperation. This virtual forum was a private sector response to three events: (1) the ASEAN-United States High-level Interagency Video conference on Cooperation to Counter COVID-19 that took place on March 31, 2020; (2) the meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and the ASEAN Foreign Minsters that took place on April 22, 2020 during which the US-ASEAN Health Futures Initiative was launched; and (3) the meeting between U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and ASEAN Health Ministers that took place on April 30, 2020.
The forum featured introductory remarks from Alexander Feldman, Chairman, President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council, The Honorable Eric D. Hargan, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and His Excellency Nguyễn Quốc Dũng, Vietnam’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs. The remarks were followed by a panel discussion centered around the ongoing and future health and technology collaboration between the U.S. Government, ASEAN governments, and the private sector. The panel featured HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan; H.E. Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community; Mr. Jan Meurer, Johnson & Johnson’s President of Southeast Asia and Vice Chair of the Council’s Health & Life Sciences Committee; Mr. Pierre Gaudreault, Pfizer’s President, Asia Emerging Markets Region, US-ABC Board Director, and Vice Chair of the Council’s Health & Life Sciences Committee; and Mr. Naveen Menon, Cisco’s President for ASEAN, and Chair of the Council’s ICT Committee; and was moderated by Amb. Michael Michalak, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director of the US-ASEAN Business Council.
Participants also discussed areas for public-private collaboration under the recently launched U.S.-ASEAN Health Futures Initiative. Launched by U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo in April 2020, the Health Futures Initiative captures existing and ongoing public health work with ASEAN and lays the groundwork for long-term partnerships, targeted assistance, and a renewed focus on the health and well-being of the combined one billion people of ASEAN and the U.S. Over the last 20 years, the United States has invested over US$3.5 billion in shared health goals and collaboration with ASEAN nations.
“COVID-19 has underscored the need for both international cooperation and public-private partnerships to prevent and respond to infectious threats that can cross borders,” said HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan. “The U.S., including the Department of Health and Human Services, has been proud to collaborate over the years and throughout this crisis with ASEAN governments and private-sector partners to strengthen public health capabilities. We look forward to further strengthening our health relationships with ASEAN in the months and years to come,” said Deputy Secretary Hargan.
“The US-ASEAN Business Council and its member companies have been at the forefront of the United States’ engagement with ASEAN for over 35 years. The Council’s leading U.S. healthcare companies are eager to support the U.S.-ASEAN Health Futures Initiative by strengthening capabilities in research, expanding the capacity of and helping to digitize health systems, and further developing ASEAN’s human capital in the medical field,” said Alexander Feldman. “We look forward to enhancing collaboration and communication between the governments of the ASEAN nations and the private sector in combatting COVID-19 as well as continuing to improve health systems across Southeast Asia to address both communicable and non-communicable disease.”
During the panel, US-ABC member participants were able to elaborate further on some of their specific initiatives in vaccine development, transformative technology, and PPE donations.
Other topics discussed include the unintended consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as disruptions in continuity of care for non-COVID patients in oncology, child vaccinations, as well as how digital technologies have the potential to re-invent healthcare delivery models—particularly in primary care.
“We have seen unprecedented collaboration between the public and private sector, and even within the private sector during the time of COVID-19 which was apparent from today’s panel” said Amb. Michael Michalak. “We look forward to working with the U.S. and ASEAN governments on expanding our collaboration including with the CDC and other engagements with ASEAN Health Officials in 2020 and beyond.”