On 19 September 2022, H.E. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand attended the Foreign Policy and Global Health (FPGH) Initiative meeting, hosted by Senegal as FPGH Chair, at the Permanent Mission of Senegal to the United Nations in New York. The Republic of Senegal has assumed the role of FPGH Chair since the beginning of 2022.
The Meeting aimed to discuss possible cooperation between Members of the Group on public health issues at the international level, namely (1) reforms of the global health architecture; (2) ways to ensure continued provision of public health services and economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 era; (3) concrete suggestions to reduce public health gaps and increase access to vaccine; and (4) discussions on the draft Resolution of the Group to be submitted to the UNGA77.
DPM/FM highlighted that the global health architecture needs comprehensive reform, both structural and functional changes, to tackle more effectively emerging health threats. He shared his thoughts on how to make the global health architecture more equitable, more inclusive, and more coherent.
On ‘Equity”, DPM/FM underscored that the resources for recovery of health systems should be re-oriented to accelerate Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and elevate primary health care capacity. Thai UHC could support the pandemic response through universal and equitable access to COVID-19-related services, both for Thai and non-Thai populations.
DPM/FM also highlighted the importance of prevention, as a cost-effective investment for health, including through promoting healthy lifestyles and tackling the upstream cases of ill health. In this vein, Thailand will present its candidature to host the Expo 2028 in Phuket under the theme “Future of Life: Living in Harmony, Sharing Prosperity”, which underlines the importance of healthy living and showcases Thailand’s competence as a world-class medical hub and leading medical tourism destination.
On “Inclusivity”, DPM/FM stressed the need to engage stakeholders in acting collectively for the common good, while equipping health workforce with adequate public health competencies. Additionally, Thailand has engaged “village health volunteers”, trained migrant health workers, and worked with neighboring countries to develop new epidemiologists through International Field Epidemiology Training Program (IFETP).
On “Coherence”, DPM/FM stressed that all reform of the global health architecture must be synergized in terms of objectives and priorities, in order to avoid proliferation and fragmentation of health governance. DPM/FM underscored particularly the need for complementarity and coherence between the work on a future ‘pandemic instrument’ and the targeted amendments of the International Health Regulations (2005). In addition, he shared Thailand’s experience in the WHO’s Universal Health and Preparedness Review (UHPR) process to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Thai health system and encouraged FPGH Members to join the said review and share lessons learned with the international community.
Foreign Policy and Global Health (FPGH) Initiative was established in 2006 as a platform for cooperation among seven Members, with a special focus on the interconnectedness between health and foreign policy. The Group consists of seven countries: Norway, France, Brazil, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa and Thailand. The FPGH has presented a draft resolution at the UN General Assembly with different topics/issues on health each year. The 2022 theme under Senegal’s chairmanship is “Strengthening consensus on global health in a post-COVID-19 world: building a healthier world for all”.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand.
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