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Asia and the Pacific Regional Network

The Asia and the Pacific Regional Network is for Health Systems Global (HSG) members located and working in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions. It aims to be a space for sharing and networking regionally in the field of health systems policy, practice and research.

The network looks forward to active participation from practitioners, academics, researchers and policy makers in this huge, diverse and beautiful region.

News and views

News and views

Access the latest blog posts and news items from and about Asia and the Pacific region.

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Related resources

Interested in reading more about health policy and systems research in Asia and the Pacific? Check out our recommended readings below.

A presentation on 'Knowledge for Universal Health Coverage' was made by Dr Abdul Ghaffar (Executive Director, Alliance) at a regional meeting on Applied Research on Health Policy and Systems to Support Universal Health Coverage (UHC), held 26-27 November 2015 by the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific in Manila, Philippines.

Drawing on published work from the Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, this paper presents a framework for undertaking comparative studies on the health systems of countries.

The Lancet Regional Health – Western Pacific is an open access journal, part of The Lancet group’s global initiative to advocate for health-care quality and access in all regions of the world. The journal fosters the advance of clinical practice and health policy in the Western Pacific region, with the ultimate goal of improving health outcomes. The journal aspires to increase the quality of regional and national health research.

Although health systems strengthening through HPSR is increasingly emphasized by WHO and country health ministries, actual HPSR progress may still be lacking. There is a need and an opportunity for WHO and other global health agencies to focus on providing the necessary tools and building HPSR capacity in low- and middle-income countries.

Regional Network Coordinators

Pragati Hebbar

Pragati Hebbar

Regional Network Lead, South-East Asia Region

Alfred Ballesteros

Alfred Ballesteros

Regional Network Google Group Moderator

Siddharth Srivastava

Siddharth Srivastava

Regional Brain Trust Network Coordinator

Pragati Hebbar

Pragati Hebbar

Regional Network Lead, South-East Asia Region

Pragati Hebbar is a Faculty member and public health researcher at the Institute of Public Health Bengaluru. She co-leads the research cluster on Chronic conditions and Public policies at the institute. She has completed two terms as the Assistant Director Administration overseeing the operations of the institute and mentoring colleagues within the support team. Over the years she has contributed as the President of the Gender Issues and (Prevention of) Sexual Harassment Committee, Member secretary of the Institutional Ethics Committee and Chair of the Purchase committee. She has a decade of experience working on various national policies related to tobacco control, road safety, ultra-processed food in the domain of NCDs. Her initial few years in public health were focused on liaising with a variety of stakeholders to improve policy implementation. Recent years have been more focused on applying methods and approaches to evaluate and study the implementation diversity across LMIC settings through a DBT/ Wellcome Trust India Alliance fellowship. She has a good teaching experience and has contributed to short courses and health leadership programmes, such as the Emerging Voices for Global Health (EV4GH) programme. She has contributed in co-facilitating in the Good Health Research Practices course, conducted three editions of the realist evaluation workshop, taught electives at prestigious national institutes and is currently leading the development of an online Implementation Research course. Pragatis research interest lies in evaluating and supporting implementation of public health policies. She strongly believes in mentoring and building capacity to strengthen health systems.

Alfred Ballesteros

Alfred Ballesteros

Regional Network Google Group Moderator

Alfredo Ballesteros is based in the Philippines, and is supporting Health Systems Global Asia-Pacific with its communications and by moderating the Google Group. He is also affiliated with the Alliance for Improving Health Outcomes, Inc. and Physicians for Peace Philippines; and is also pursuing post-graduate studies in International Health.

Siddharth Srivastava

Siddharth Srivastava

Regional Brain Trust Network Coordinator

Siddharth Srivastava is a Research Assistant at The Health Equity Action Lab of The George Institute for Global Health, India. He also serves as Vice-chair and Southeast Asia regional board member for the International Working Group for Health Systems Strengthening. Siddharth holds an MPH from Johns Hopkins University and an M.Sc. from University College London. His interests include Health Policy and Systems Research, Health Equity, One Health and Systems Thinking.

Western Pacific Regional Champions

Western Pacific Regional Champions with demonstrated interest to contribute to the expansion of HPSR have been invited to identify opportunities and activities that strengthen the community of practice for HPSR in the region. This includes widening the reach of the network and catalyzing collaboration in thematic areas that are of interest in the region.

Mr. Pio Justin V. Asuncion

Mr. Pio Justin V. Asuncion

Senior Health Program Officer at the Health Research Division – Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau of the Department of Health Philippines

Lana Elliot

Lana Elliot

Lecturer in the School of Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology.

Suan Ee Ong

Suan Ee Ong

Senior Advisor and Chief Operating Officer at Research for Impact

Reiner Lorenzo Tamayo

Reiner Lorenzo Tamayo

Research, Policy, and Communications Manager of Innovations for Community Health, Inc.

Sreytouch Vong

Sreytouch Vong

Health System and Public Health Researcher

Gade Waqa

Gade Waqa

Associate Professor and Head of the Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and NCDs (C-POND)

Mr. Pio Justin V. Asuncion

Mr. Pio Justin V. Asuncion

Senior Health Program Officer at the Health Research Division – Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau of the Department of Health Philippines

Pio Asuncion is a Senior Health Program Officer at the Health Research Division – Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau of the Department of Health Philippines. He is currently the Manager of the Research Management Unit overseeing the DOH’s Advancing Health through Evidence Assisted Decisions with Health Policy and Systems Research (AHEAD with HPSR) Program and is also the Member Secretary of the Single Joint Research Ethics Board (SJREB). He is a trained public health nurse whose area of expertise is on research management, health policy development, and health research ethics.

Lana Elliot

Lana Elliot

Lecturer in the School of Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology.

Lana Elliott is a lecturer and health systems and policy researcher. Her research critically analyses the political economy underpinning local to global health policy decisions and their impact on health systems. Informed by her background in human rights, international relations and public health, Lana’s work has a particular emphasis on global health, power and issues of health equity. Lana has worked in practice and research capacities in health management, public health and development in Australia and the Pacific. Much of her current research is focused on health policymaking and systems strengthening efforts in the Pacific region.

Suan Ee Ong

Suan Ee Ong

Senior Advisor and Chief Operating Officer at Research for Impact

Suan Ee Ong is senior advisor and chief operating officer at Research for Impact, a Singapore-based think-and-do tank focused on social, behavioural, and systems research and evaluation. She is also an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore and a Senior Fellow at the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Suan’s background is in political science, international relations, and public health. Her interests are in health systems and policy research, evidence synthesis, policy analysis, and qualitative methods.

Reiner Lorenzo Tamayo

Reiner Lorenzo Tamayo

Research, Policy, and Communications Manager of Innovations for Community Health, Inc.

Reiner Tamayo is a registered nurse, researcher, and health policy analyst. He is currently the Research, Policy, and Communications Manager of Innovations for Community Health, Inc. – a Philippine-based NGO. He is actively involved in multiple projects focusing on COVID-19, TB-HIV, communities, rights, and gender (CRG), community-led monitoring, and public-private mix in health, commissioned by local and international institutions such as the Philippine Department of Health, WHO Philippines, USAID-FHI 360, and SIHI. His interests include health financing, human resources for health, NCD prevention and control, and advanced practice nursing.

Sreytouch Vong

Sreytouch Vong

Health System and Public Health Researcher

Sreytouch Vong is a health system and public health researcher. She was a former Policy Manager of Enhancing Quality of Healthcare Activity (EQHA) project and a Health Financing and Human Resource team leader of ReBUILD project in Cambodia. She has also previously worked as a consultant for the World Bank in Cambodia and a staff of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI) where she spent about 10 years conducting qualitative research. She has conducted research in various areas such as WASH, nutrition, reproductive health and gender. She is the author of “Why are fewer women rising on the top? A life history gender analysis of Cambodia’s health workforce”. She is also an Emerging Voices for 2016 and a former Young Professional Officer of UNDP, Cambodia office. She used to be a peer educator, a trainer for community health education for reproductive health with youth in Cambodia in her initial career of public health. Sreytouch holds Masters in International Cooperation Policy, majoring in Public Health Management where she has developed her interests in reproductive health and gender (Women’s knowledge, attitude and practice of family planning in rural Cambodia) into her area of research. Her areas of interest are human resource, gender, ageing health, nutrition and performance-based financing.

Gade Waqa

Gade Waqa

Associate Professor and Head of the Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and NCDs (C-POND)

Dr. Gade Waqa is an Associate Professor and Head of the Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and NCDs (C-POND), WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention and Management at the Fiji Institute for Pacific Health Research, College of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Fiji National University. She is a researcher, and an academic. She is currently engaged in several research projects in collaboration with international universities and funders involving policy analysis and research work to enable decision makers and managers, make better decisions toward stronger nutrition-related policies and knowledge translation with responsive health systems. She had a nursing background for more than 20 years’ experience in the public health sector, initially in community nursing and then in research; this experience has provided the basis for ongoing engagement with government, health services, researchers and communities in Fiji. She has vast research experience working across the Pacific region in collaboration with Universities from Australia and New Zealand and coordinated a number of research projects within C-POND. She graduated with a PhD in October 2018 from the School of Health and Social Development, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Australia.

Southeast Asia Regional Braintrust

The Southeast Asia Regional Brian Trust is a core group of researchers, practitioners, and decision makers across Southeast Asia with a demonstrated record of accomplishment and interest in engaging with various HPSR workstreams across the region. The group is currently supporting various regional health systems strengthening initiatives across the areas of capacity strengthening, collaborative writing, advocacy, and resource mobilisation.

Dr. Anjalee De Silva

Dr. Anjalee De Silva

Planning and Monitoring Officer, WHO Country Office, Sri Lanka

Dr. Antonio Bonito

Dr. Antonio Bonito

Systems Thinking Coordinator, WHO Country office, Timor Leste

Dr. Borwornsom Leerapan

Dr. Borwornsom Leerapan

Associate Professor, Deputy Director of Center for Health Policy and Management, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

Mr. Sagun Paudel

Mr. Sagun Paudel

President/ Public Health Youth Society of Nepal, Nepal

Dr. Sohana Shafique

Dr. Sohana Shafique

Deputy Project Coordinator, Urban Health, Icddr,b, Bangladesh

Dr. Sujarwoto Sujarwoto

Dr. Sujarwoto Sujarwoto

Senior lecturer at the Department of Public Administration University of Brawijaya Malang Indonesia

Tashi Chozom

Tashi Chozom

Senior Planning Officer, Policy and Planning Division, Ministry of Health, Bhutan

Dr. Taufique Joarder

Dr. Taufique Joarder

Vice-Chairperson, Public Health Foundation, Bangladesh

Dr. Zarni Lynn Kyaw

Dr. Zarni Lynn Kyaw

Deputy Director, Community Partners International, Myanmar

Dr. Anjalee De Silva

Dr. Anjalee De Silva

Planning and Monitoring Officer, WHO Country Office, Sri Lanka

Anjalee is a medical professional with work experience in patient safety, quality of care and health emergencies. She is currently working on the COVID-19 response with the WHO Health Emergencies Program in Sri Lanka. Dr De Silva completed her post-secondary education in the Philippines earning her MD and MPH qualifications. She is a national of Sri Lanka.

Dr. Antonio Bonito

Dr. Antonio Bonito

Systems Thinking Coordinator, WHO Country office, Timor Leste

Prior to his current role in the WHO regional office, Antonio served as the executive director at the National Institute of Health at Timor Leste, where he managed the functioning of the institution, training, research implementation and monitoring and evaluation activities. Antonio has also served as the Director of Human resources services at the Ministry of Health and has developed policies relating to human resources development. He has also conducted mobilisation of health professionals in their workplace and managed scholarship inside and outside the country. In addition to his current role, Antonio is a part time lecturer at Dili University with expertise across the disciplines of Health Promotion, Hospital and Community Health Center Management. He holds a Master's in Public Health from Diponegoro University, Semarang, Indonesia.

Dr. Borwornsom Leerapan

Dr. Borwornsom Leerapan

Associate Professor, Deputy Director of Center for Health Policy and Management, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

Borwornsom Leerapan is an associate professor at Ramathibodi Medical School of Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand. He is a preventive medicine physician and health systems researcher. Before academia, Dr. Leerapan worked as a general practitioner and the hospital directorate a 30-bed community hospital in the rural north of Thailand, directly observing inequitable access to care while managing and implementing health programs in the communities. His current research has focused on applying systems thinking in healthcare quality management and health systems strengthening, addressing the cross-subsidization of healthcare financing in public hospitals, the new regional healthcare governance structure of Thailand’s Universal Health Coverage, the community-based health interventions for the vulnerable population in Thailand, the national strategic health workforce planning, and the system dynamics modelling to support policy decisions in response to COVID-19. He is currently the Deputy Director of the Centre for Health Policy and Management at the Medical School, and also serves on organizational and national committees including the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Prince Mahidol Award Foundation under the Royal Patronage. He obtained his Doctor of Medicine with honours from Mahidol University, Master of Science in Health Policy and Management from Harvard University, and Doctor of Philosophy in Health Services Research, Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota.

Mr. Sagun Paudel

Mr. Sagun Paudel

President/ Public Health Youth Society of Nepal, Nepal

Sagun Paudel is an MPH graduate with progressive professional experiences in the public health sector in Nepal. He has extensive experience on planning, managing, and implementing public health interventions in Government, NGOs, INGOs and Intra-governmental organizations in Nepal. Beside his regular job, he is actively engaging in professionals’ activities via Nepal Public Health Association and Public Health Youth Society of Nepal to promote health and wellbeing. Collecting best practices, compiling evidence, informing people, advocating for public health, promoting health, and mobilizing social media to disseminate health information are major activities he engages in regularly. He is interested in Health systems, Implementation Research and Social innovation in public health. He is committed to providing a significant technical contribution to improve people’s health in Nepal.

Dr. Sohana Shafique

Dr. Sohana Shafique

Deputy Project Coordinator, Urban Health, Icddr,b, Bangladesh

Dr. Shana Shafique is a Global Health researcher with specific interest in Urban Health and Nutrition as well as Health Policy and Systems Research. For the past 15 years, her research has been focused on inequalities in healthy child growth and development and double burden of diseases in South and South-East Asia. She has vast experience in designing and conducting implementation research and facilitating knowledge translation activities through generating evidence and conducting policy dialogues and citizen engagement activities to achieve. Universal Health Coverage in Bangladesh. Dr. Shafique obtained her B.Sc and M.Sc in Nutrition from University of Dhaka; MPH from University of Queensland, Australia; and her PhD from University of Toronto, Canada. Currently she leads the 'Urban Health Research Group' at the Health Systems and Population Studies Division at icddr,b, Bangladesh.

Dr. Sujarwoto Sujarwoto

Dr. Sujarwoto Sujarwoto

Senior lecturer at the Department of Public Administration University of Brawijaya Malang Indonesia

Dr. Sujarwoto is the current Director of Portsmouth Brawijaya Centre for Global Health, Population and Policy Brawijaya University Indonesia. The research centre is one of leading research centre in the country which dedicated to developing high quality research in the area of health, demography and public policies. Dr. Sujarwoto is a public policy analyst who interest in research focuses on health system, health and well-being in developing countries. He published several articles on these topics in peer reviewed journals. He currently works as a local principal investigator of scale up program of cardiovascular risk management called “SMART Health” in Malang, East Java, Indonesia. The study is an international collaborative research among the George Institute for Global Health University of Sydney Australia, University of Manchester, Delhi University India, Brawijaya University and Malang district government. The project is focussed on implementing a large intervention of a smartphone-based healthcare to reduce high cardiovascular disease in Malang.

Tashi Chozom

Tashi Chozom

Senior Planning Officer, Policy and Planning Division, Ministry of Health, Bhutan

Ms. Tashi Chozom is a Senior Planning Officer with the Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan. She has been with the Policy and Planning Division for the last eight years. She graduated from the University of Melbourne in Australia with a Master of Development Studies in 2018. With her experience in the health sector coupled with her area of study, her interest lies in solving health issues by understanding the inter-relationships between the public health and other development spheres that lies outside of the health sector. Since the start of her career with the Ministry of Health, she has co-led the planning and implementation of two important national plan periods (11th and 12th Five Year Plans). Ms.Tashi is one of the key contributors of the Health Systems in Transition Report and has led the development of key national health strategies and National Health Accounts exercises. Her most recent engagement is the Cross Programmatic Efficiency Analysis that was conducted to analyse key health programmes alongside the overall health system.

Dr. Taufique Joarder

Dr. Taufique Joarder

Vice-Chairperson, Public Health Foundation, Bangladesh

Dr. Taufique Joarder is the Consultant, Health Workforce Department, the World Health Organization (WHO); and an Associate Professor (Part-Time), Department of Public Health, North South University, Bangladesh. Before this, he was the Research Director of USAID's Multisectoral Nutrition Implementation Research Project, FHI 360, Bangladesh. He was also an Assistant Professor, BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health, where he is currently an Adjunct Faculty. He is also the Vice-Chairperson of Public Health Foundation, Bangladesh, and Associate Editor of BMC Globalization and Health journal. He completed a Doctorate in Public Health from the Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Before this, he obtained the Master of Public Health from BRAC University, with the highest distinction, winning the prestigious Allan Rosenfield Award. He also obtained a Diploma in International Health and Policy Evaluation from Erasmus University, Netherlands, and an MBBS degree from the University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh. His areas of interest include health policy, health systems, human resources for health, global health, nutrition policy, medical anthropology, mixed methods research, implementation science, and psychometrics. He has been teaching qualitative research methods, global health, and health policy and systems issues in the MPH course of different universities and professional short courses. He has over 27 peer-reviewed journal publications and seven book chapters. He speaks in the electronic media and regularly writes on health policy and systems issues in the Bangladeshi media and international blog sites/newsletters.

Dr. Zarni Lynn Kyaw

Dr. Zarni Lynn Kyaw

Deputy Director, Community Partners International, Myanmar

Dr. Zarni Lynn Kyaw is the Deputy Director of Community Partners International. In addition to my Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), he also has a Master of Public Health (MPH) on the International Course in Health Development (ICHD). At Community Partners International, he collaborated with health finance professionals globally to advocate for a reform of the country's health financing systems. With the launch of the Programme of Health Reforms: A Roadmap Towards Universal Health Coverage in Myanmar (2016-2030), the Myanmar National Health Plan (2017-2021), and the use of the System of Health Account 2011 for Myanmar National Health Accounts: Health Expenditure Report 2016-2018, Myanmar have seen some progress toward achieving universal health coverage in the country but fragmentation that remains, notwithstanding the progress made at the policy level, is a source of inefficiency. The implementation of a strategic purchase initiative on Myanmar's southern and eastern borders helped us overcome these challenges. It is possible to buy health outputs and results rather than health inputs. They were able to expand the pilot to 17 clinics in 2021 as a result of the success of the pilot project. Working at the crossroads of health finance and health informatics, he feels he can contribute to his country's goal of universal health coverage by the year 2030 by bringing these two fields together.