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ASEAN Medical Sector Feels Birth Pains of Regional Integration

Doctors from ASEAN countries should be able to move and work much more easily under the ASEAN Economic Community. But the devil, as always, is in the detail. The mobility of medical professionals faces challenges in mutual recognition agreements, language barriers, licensing exams, and hesitance to accept foreign doctors, reports Marlon Alexander Luistro of The Filipino Connection in his story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

Protecting the Marginalised

There are concerns that only one percent of Southeast Asia’s workforce will benefit from the ASEAN Economic Community’s Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), leaving more than 9.5 million migrant workers in the region bereft. Amanda Siddharta of ‘Tempo’ magazine takes a look at what it will take for the rights of these workers to be protected.

Healthcare Within Borders

Indonesian doctors are undecided if the freer movement of skilled medical practitioners across Southeast Asia, as part of the ASEAN Economic Community’s plans, will be a bane or boon for them and their patients. Amanda Siddharta of ‘Tempo’ magazine looks at the possible impact on the country’s healthcare system in her story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

Including Low-skilled Workers into ASEAN’s Labour Framework

Intra-ASEAN labour migration has increased fourfold since 1990 to 6.5 million in 2013. The majority consists of semi-skilled and unskilled workers, but they are little seen in ASEAN’s integration plans. What safeguards have ASEAN put in place to protect them? Not much, as Saifulbahri Ismail of Channel NewsAsia finds out in his story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

How Will MRAs Affect the Mobility of Professionals?

The freer flow of professional talent across the region is one of the key goals of the ASEAN Economic Community. But can the increased mobility of selected professionals actually be achieved? Saifulbahri Ismail of Channel NewsAsia looks into the challenges of liberalising jobs in his story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

Hue: ASEAN’s City of Culture

Hue, the former capital of Vietnam, was chosen as ASEAN’s third City of Culture for 2014-2015. Duong Thi Mong Thu of Vietnam Television takes a look at how the city keeps its heritage alive for residents, while showcasing it to the world in her story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

In ASEAN, Women Empowerment Low on Priority List

Will the rights of women and children ever be a priority in ASEAN? Not likely, according to civil societies who believe political and economic concerns will always be addressed before socio-cultural issues. Natashya Gutierrez of Rappler reports for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

ASEAN Countries Slow in Funding Women Empowerment

Less than a fifth of all projects under a 2012-2016 ASEAN Work Plan to promote and protect the rights of women and children have been completed due to a lack of funding by member states. Natashya Gutierrez from Rappler looks into the reasons for the slow disbursement of funds in her story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

ASEAN’s Highly Skilled Health Workers

The ASEAN Economic Community envisions freer movement of labour across borders. With the lure of more opportunities and higher wages, could this lead to a brain drain in Vietnam? Le Hang Phan Thi of Vietnam News Agency looks at the push and pull factors for doctors in her story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

How Ready is ASEAN for Disasters?

Typhoon Haiyan was the worst natural disaster to hit Southeast Asia since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. ASEAN countries responded by supplying emergency supplies, relief aid and cash donations. But was it enough? Can ASEAN be relied upon to provide assistance in times like this? Charles Phang of ChannelNewsAsia takes a look at ASEAN’s disaster response efforts in his story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

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