Reader’s guide

Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific presents a set of key indicators on health and health systems for 27 Asia-Pacific countries and territories. It builds on the format used in previous editions of Health at a Glance to present comparable data on health status and its determinants, health care resources and utilisation, health care expenditure and financing and health care quality.

This publication was prepared jointly by the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office (WHO/WPRO), the WHO Office for South-East Asia (WHO/SEARO), the OECD and the OECD/Korea Policy Centre, under the co-ordination of Luca Lorenzoni from the OECD Health Division.

Chapter 1 was prepared by Luca Lorenzoni (OECD Health Division). Chapter 2 was prepared by Luca Lorenzoni and Caroline Penn from the OECD Health Division, with support from Mannava Priya and Tomáš Roubal (WHO/WPRO). Chapter 3 was prepared by Gaëlle Balestat, Gabriel Di Paolantonio and Luca Lorenzoni (OECD Health Division), with support from James Kelley, Linh-Vi, Fukushi Morishita, April Siwon Lee and Hiromasa Okayasu (WHO/WPRO), and Rakesh Mani Rastogi and Mark Landry (WHO/SEARO). Chapter 4 was prepared by Rie Fujisawa and Gaston Escotto García (OECD Health Division), with support from Kira Fortune, Genandrialine Peralta, Josaia Tiko, Warrick Junsuk Kim, Juliawati Untoro and Caroline Lukaszyk (WHO/WPRO), and Rakesh Mani Rastogi and Mark Landry (WHO/SEARO). Chapter 5 was prepared by Gabriel Di Paolantonio and Luca Lorenzoni from the OECD Health Division, with support from Rakesh Mani Rastogi and Mark Landry (WHO/SEARO). Chapter 6 was written by Gaëlle Balestat and Luca Lorenzoni (OECD Health Division), with support from Tomáš Roubal (WHO/WPRO), and Valeria De Oliveira Cruz and Hui Wang (WHO/SEARO). Chapter 7 was prepared by Rie Fujisawa and Gaston Escotto García (OECD Health Division), with support from Yoshihiro Takashima, Josaia Tiko, Warrick Junsuk Kim and Pastore Roberta (WHO/WPRO).

Liv Gudmundson and Lucy Hulett (OECD) helped with the formatting and editing of the publication.

Valuable input was received from Gao Jun, Duan Mengjuan and Robert Arciaga (WHO/WPRO), Rodrico Orfin, Director, Health Emergency (WHO/SEARO), and Frederico Guanais, Gaetan Lafortune and Michael Mueller (OECD Health Division).

This publication benefited from the comments and suggestions of Martin Robert Taylor, Director, Health Systems and Services (WHO/WPRO), Manoj Jhalani, Director, Health Systems Development (WHO/SEARO), Hwan Choi, Director of the OECD/Korea Policy Centre, and Francesca Colombo, Head of the OECD Health Division.

Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2020 is divided into seven chapters:

Chapter 1 Dashboards shows a set of key indicators to compare performance across countries in each of the following dimensions: health status; risk factors; quality of care and health care resources. For each dimension, a set of five indicators is presented in the form of country dashboards. The indicators are selected based on their policy relevance, but also on data availability and interpretability.

Chapter 2 on The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Asia-Pacific health systems provides an overview of the human impact of COVID-19 and of government responses to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis. It then considers the fiscal impact of the crisis, and discusses the vulnerability of health systems to the COVID-19 shock.

Chapter 3 on Health status highlights the variations across countries and territories in life expectancy and survival rate to age 65, infant and childhood mortality and major causes of mortality and morbidity, including both communicable and non-communicable diseases. It includes new indicators on Healthy life expectancy at birth and on Neonatal mortality.

Chapter 4 on Determinants of health focuses on non-medical determinants of health. It features the health of mothers and babies, through family planning issues, low birthweight and breastfeeding. It includes lifestyle and behavioural indicators such as smoking and alcohol drinking, unhealthy diets, and underweight and overweight, as well as water and sanitation. It includes also an indicator on road safety.

Chapter 5 on Health care resources, utilisation and access reviews some of the inputs, outputs and outcomes of health care systems. This includes the supply of doctors and nurses and hospital beds, as well as the provision of primary and secondary health care services, such as doctor consultations and hospital discharges, as well as a range of services surrounding pregnancy, childbirth and infancy.

Chapter 6 on Health care expenditure and financing examines trends in health spending across Asia-Pacific countries. It looks at how health services and goods are paid for, and the different mix between public funding, private health insurance, direct out-of-pocket payments by households and external resources. It also includes a new indicator on health expenditure by type of service.

Chapter 7 on Health care quality builds on the indicators used in the OECD’s Health Care Quality Indicator programme to examine trends in health care quality improvement across Asia-Pacific countries and territories. It also includes a new indicator on incidence, survival and mortality for stomach cancer.

Annex A provides the list of national data sources used for this publication. Annex B provides some additional tables on the demographic context within which different health systems operate.

For this sixth edition of Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific, 27 countries and territories were compared: 22 in Asia (Bangladesh; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Hong Kong, China; India; Indonesia; Japan; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Macau, China; Malaysia; Mongolia; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; Philippines; Republic of Korea; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Thailand and Viet Nam), and five in the Pacific region (Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands).

The indicators have been selected on the basis of being relevant to monitoring health systems performance, taking into account the availability and comparability of existing data in the Asia-Pacific region. The publication takes advantage of the routine administrative and programme data collected by the World Health Organization, especially the Regional Office for the Western Pacific and South-East Asia Regional Office, as well as country population surveys collecting demographic and health information.

The indicators are presented in the form of easy-to-read figures and explanatory text. Each of the topics covered in this publication is presented over two pages. The first page defines the indicator and notes any significant variations, which might affect data comparability. It also provides brief commentary highlighting the key findings conveyed by the data. On the facing page is a set of figures. These typically show current levels of the indicator and, where possible, trends over time. In some cases, an additional figure relating the indicator to another variable is included.

The cut date for all the data reported in this publication is Monday 5 October 2020.

Countries and territories are classified into four income groups – high, upper-middle, lower-middle, and low – based on their Gross National Income (GNI) per capita (current USD) calculated using the Atlas method (World Bank). The classification reported in the table below and used in this publication is the one updated on the 1 July 2019.

In text and figures, Asia Pacific-H refers to the unweighted average for high-income reporting Asia-Pacific countries and territories, Asia Pacific-UM refers to the unweighted average for upper-middle income reporting Asia Pacific countries, and Asia Pacific-LM/L refers to the unweighted average for lower-middle and low income reporting countries.

“OECD” refers to the unweighted average for the 37 OECD member countries. It includes Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. Data for OECD countries are generally extracted from OECD sources, unless stated otherwise.

Even if from a statistical viewpoint the use of a population-weighted average is sound, the unweighted average used in this report allows for a better representation of levels and trends observed in countries and territories with small population numbers.

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD/WHO 2020

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at