Thai pandemic centre gets nod
Thailand has been chosen by Asean members to establish an Asean Secretariat Office for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.
According to the public health permanent secretary, Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit, the unit will serve as a centre of excellence and hub to strengthen Asean's capability to handle 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. Last year, Tokyo also injected a further US$50 million (1.8 billion baht) towards the final stage of establishing a permanent facility in a chosen country.
Thailand competed with Indonesia and Vietnam to host the Secretariat Office, with six Asean member nations expressing support for Thailand, he said.
The introduction of ACPHEED Secretariat Office will be hosted on Friday by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.
In addition, Dr Kiattiphum on Tuesday presided over the Apec Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) on the health working group, which runs from Monday to Friday this week. The conference aims to foster closer cooperation and improve the public health systems of Apec member nations 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 establishing a network to tackle health challenges and mitigate against the negative economic impact of emerging infectious diseases.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic has raised the alarm following the demonstration of a clear link between emerging infectious diseases and economic collapse.
"We hope the meeting will come up with concrete plans to assure the economy and health are managed in parallel to create resilience and stability, stave off the threat of further health crises, and ensure economic growth and sustainability," he said.