Since the emergence of the H1N1 virus creates worldwide great pressure on governments and ministries of health as well as WHO to make the right decisions and take the right actions at a time of great scientific uncertainty, the need for global solidarity on the issue was extensively discussed and specifically focused in the 62nd World Health Assembly. In addition, the Ministerial Meeting of 11 countries in the South-East Asia Region (SEAR), which was held during WHA62, has already adopted the concerted policy actions towards minimizing the impact of potential influenza pandemic in the Region. (Click here for details) In this WHA62, Dr. Suwit Wibulpolprasert, chairman of Thailand’s National Health Assembly Organizing Committee 2009, and the four vice-chairs led the secretariat team from the National Health Commission Office (NHCO) as Thai delegates to learn and experience the WHA process as well as to share their views on many issues, especially the issue of ‘reducing health inequities through action on the social determinants of health’.
The existence of inequities in health has been recognized in Thailand as the issue of equity access to necessary public health services was raised and considered in the First Thailand’s National Health Assembly 2008. Whereas the NHCO is the key focal point of the country on the issue, it has realized the importance of taking forward the 3 overarching recommendations from the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) Report – ‘Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health’ – and has involved in a series of international meetings on SDH. Since the essence of having SDH being addressed by the government and multi-stakeholders including other sectors have been realized, the resolutions adopted in WHA62 for the movements towards a reduction in health inequities through action on the SDH will therefore be included and highlighted in the upcoming Thailand’s National Health Assembly in December 2009 for the development of healthy public policies in the country and further in the region.