The National Health Commission (NHC) is concerned about the lack of progress in some resolutions of the National Health Assembly (NHA). Therefore, it decided to appoint the minister of public health to be the chair of on NHA Resolutions Drive and Follow-up to coordinate the implementation of such resolutions with concerned organizations and parties. The commission also asked the cabinet to approve global health strategies to be implemented from 2015 to 2020.
The NHC made the decisions in its 2/2558 meeting on May 1, 2015. Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Yuthavong chaired the meeting. Public Health Minister Dr Somsak Chunharas in his capacity as its deputy chairman was also present in the meeting in the Sanjai 1 meeting room on the 6th floor of the National Health Building.
Prof Dr Yongyuth said the participatory development of healthy public policies through the National Health Assembly always made progress and created changes in society in the past eight years. It allowed all parties in the society to take part in producing many resolutions that are beneficial to people’s well-being and concerned organizations effectively implemented the resolutions including measures to cope with hazardous smoke haze and eliminate asbestos, the formulation of Thailand’s global health strategies and the development of systems and structures to promote everyday walk and cycling.
Yet, the NHC is aware that many other resolutions that it reached have not been achieved tangible results. Therefore, it resolved to appoint the public health minister to chair the Committee on NHA Resolutions Drive and Follow-up, so that intersectoral action in NHA resolutions’ implementation among organizations in government, academic and social sectors would be progressing.
“The key strategies of the Committee on NHA Resolutions Drive and Follow-up are a network based approach, giving values of and building up the existing work for the implementation of NHA resolutions, for mutual benefits and regular reports on the progress in the implementation. The deputy chairman of the NHC who is the public health minister should chair the committee.”
Representing the public health minister, Dr Somsak supported the idea to have the public health minister take the lead in integrating attempts among relevant organizations of various disciplines in government, private, civil, academic and professional sectors as well as local administration organizations to push for the implementation of NHA resolutions.
“The success of NHA resolutions depends on the useful implementation of resolutions by relevant organizations. The NHCO (National Health Commission Office) must coordinate and follow up the implementation and make all parties realize the merits of NHA resolutions. The minister of public health’s chairmanship in the committee supports the collaboration among the government, the academic sector and the social sector,” said NHC secretary-general Dr Amphon Jindawatthana.
Among the NHA resolutions that have been successfully implemented is the resolution to formulate Thailand’s global health strategies. The Ministry of Public Health proposed the resolution of the 7th National Health Assembly in 2014 to the past meeting of the NHC. The NHC assigned the Ministry of Public Health to take the lead in implementing the resolution. In the latest development, the Ministry of Public Health worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and asked the cabinet to approve the strategies to enhance capacities to deal with emerging and re-emerging diseases and natural and manmade disasters, especially the diseases that are likely to spread worldwide and affect the national economy.
There is also a resolution to eliminate asbestos from Thailand. It resulted from the 3rd National Health Assembly in 2010 and won approval from the cabinet. The implementation of the resolution causes industrialists to turn to the raw materials that are free of asbestos which harms health. This makes changes in the society. Knowledge on the matter was exchanged for one year after the resolution was adopted.
The NHC also approved a 2009 announcement on criteria and procedure for the health impact assessment of public policies to be continuingly used. The criteria are in compliance with Section 25(5) of the National Health Act. They are being revised and presented to gather opinions and recommendations from agencies, organizations and stakeholders so that they can respond effectively to rapidly changing social contexts and situations.
Source and photo source: National Health Commission Office