Thailand chosen for regional health emergencies center

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has chosen Thailand to establish and host the ASEAN Center for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases in recognition of its strong public health infrastructure and effective response to COVID-19.

The Center will serve as a hub for research and development and a headquarters for excellence, with sharing of knowledge and best practices and coordinating regional responses to pubic health issues and emergencies. The announcement was made during a session of the health working group during the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) Senior Officials Meeting. Thailand is the APEC 2022 Chairmanship.

Public health is one of Thailand’s national strengths. The United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) have praised the Kingdom’s public health system several times over the years as a model for what developing and middle-income nations can achieve. Since 2001, Thailand has had a universal health care system.

The healthcare industry and advanced medical research and development are priority industries under the government’s national strategy in its pursuit of advanced development. Thailand is also a strong competitor in the global market for medical tourism.

The government of Japan will help fund the ASEAN center with an initial donation of $50 million through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund. Indonesia and Viet Nam had also been in the running to host the center.

Southeast Asia has had to contend with and respond to the spread of several emerging diseases during the past two decades including avian influenza, SARS and MERS. Thailand also collaborates with the U.S. on medical research and public health issues, such as searching for cures for malaria, dengue fever and other diseases.


Photo courtesy of