Thailand pandemic center gets green light

BANGKOK: Thailand has been chosen by ASEAN members to establish an ASEAN Center for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.

Photo: Bangkok Post.

According to the Permanent Secretary for Public Health, Dr. Kiattiphum Wongrajit, the unit will serve as a center of excellence and a hub to strengthen Asean’s capacity to manage public health emergencies and emerging diseases.

The project passed a feasibility study in 2020, which was supported by the Japanese government through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund, reports the Bangkok Post.

Last year, Tokyo also injected an additional $50 million (1.8 billion baht) for the final stage of establishing a permanent facility in a chosen country.

Thailand was competing with Indonesia and Vietnam to host the center, with six ASEAN member countries expressing support for Thailand, he said.

The official opening ceremony will be hosted by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on Friday.

In addition, Dr. Kiattiphum yesterday (23 August) chaired the Apec Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) on the Health Working Group, which runs Monday through Friday this week. The conference aims to foster closer cooperation and improve the public health systems of Apec member countries in the post-COVID-19 era.

Dr Kiattiphum said participants would take this opportunity to update and improve the previously agreed action plan to achieve the Putrajaya Vision 2040, which includes building a network to address health challenges and mitigate the impact negative economics of emerging infectious diseases.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic had raised alarm bells after a clear link between emerging infectious diseases and economic collapse was demonstrated.

“We hope the meeting will come up with concrete plans to ensure that the economy and health are managed in parallel to create resilience and stability, ward off the threat of further health crises, and ensure economic growth and sustainability,” he said.

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