On September 19, 2022, HE Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand participated in the meeting of the Foreign Policy and Global Health Initiative (FPGH), hosted by Senegal as Chair of the FPGH, at the Permanent Mission of Senegal to the United Nations in New York. The Republic of Senegal has chaired the FPGH since the beginning of 2022.
The meeting aimed to discuss possible cooperation between the members of the Group on public health issues at the international level, namely (1) reforms of the global health architecture; (2) ways to ensure the continued delivery of public health services and economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 era; (3) concrete suggestions for reducing public health gaps and increasing access to vaccines; and (4) discussions on the Group’s draft resolution to be submitted to UNGA77.
DPM/FM emphasized that the global health architecture needs comprehensive reform, both structural and functional, to more effectively address emerging health threats. He shared his thoughts on how to make the global health architecture more equitable, inclusive and coherent.
On “equity,” DPM/FM stressed that resources for restoring health systems should be redirected to accelerate universal health coverage (UHC) and increase primary health care capacity. Thai UHC could support the pandemic response through universal and equitable access to COVID-19 related services for both Thai and non-Thai populations.
The DPM/FM also underlined the importance of prevention, as a profitable investment for health, in particular through the promotion of healthy lifestyles and the fight against cases of ill health upstream. With this in mind, Thailand will bid to host Expo 2028 in Phuket under the theme “The Future of Life: Living in Harmony, Sharing Prosperity”, which emphasizes the importance of healthy living and highlights value Thailand’s competence as a world-class medical center. and leading medical tourism destination.
On “inclusiveness,” DPM/FM highlighted the need to engage stakeholders to act collectively for the common good, while equipping health personnel with adequate public health skills. Additionally, Thailand has hired “village health volunteers”, trained migrant health workers and worked with neighboring countries to develop new epidemiologists under the International Field Epidemiology Training Program (IFETP).
On “Coherence”, DPM/FM stressed that any reform of the global health architecture must be synergized in terms of objectives and priorities, in order to avoid the proliferation and fragmentation of health governance. The DPM/FM notably underlined the need for complementarity and consistency between the work on a future “pandemic instrument” and the targeted amendments to 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 members of the FPGH to join this review and share the lessons learned with the international community.
The Foreign Policy and Global Health Initiative (FPGH) was established in 2006 as a cooperation platform between seven members, with a particular focus on the interdependence between health and foreign policy. The Group is made up of seven countries: Norway, France, Brazil, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa and Thailand. The FPGH presented a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly every year with different topics/questions on health. The theme for 2022 under the Senegalese presidency 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 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand.
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