During the October 2021 P4H Steering Group meeting, Dr Walaiporn, Thailand, gave a presentation expressing Thailand’s interest in joining the P4H SG
Dr Walaiporn was selected at as the representative for Thailand because she is the director of the Global Health Division, Ministry of Public Health, and a senior researcher on health financing and UHC of the International Health Policy Programs (HPP). The other two members of the Thai team include Dr. Somtanuek Chotchoungchatchai who will serve as a researcher and Miss Parinda Seneerattanaprayul who will serve as a research coordinator. These two have been selected because it will offer the younger generation the opportunity for capacity building.
The IHPP is an institute attached to the Global Health Division, MOPH, which has three main objectives. Firstly, a commitment to conduct robust health policy, system research and proactive knowledge management. Secondly to strengthen national and international collective capacities and collaborations. Thirdly, to promote good governance and enabling evidence-based actions.
Thailand has been working on both health system components mainly on health financing, human resource for health and non-Thai population and research. Thailand has millions of migrant workers which are a key platform for health policy and system research and social protection for these people is very important. The Ministry of Public Health also applied for CFPs to work in M&E SDG 3.8.1 and SDG 3.8.2
There are three main reasons why Thailand would like to join the P4H Network.
Thailand achieved UHC since 2001 and has strong commitment to contribute to UHC for all. In addition, P4H is a global health network dedicated to health financing and social health protection for universal health coverage through insight and knowledge brokerage, collaborative technical expertise, and policy dialogue. This function can help Thailand to grow and develop valuable work with other networks in health financing and social health protection.
IHPP has an extensive profile and function in generating evidence to inform policy. Moreover, IHPP used to work with Thai team in driving UHC agenda at global level. The P4H network combines the normative and technical support with the political commitment, financial contributions and wealth of expertise and experience of its member organizations. This function can bring IHPP to serve as leading organization to UHC movement.
P4H provides a digital platform to enable health financing experts to connect, collaborate and get informed. It also provides contact information of experts over the world, many sources of knowledge, documentation on every webinar, a blog section and internal chat. This is hub of knowledge and insight garnered at global level where IHPP can share its experiences that represented Thailand among member organization. If given the opportunity to serve in the P4H network, there are two main expectations:
P4H will facilitate and strengthen capacity at country level and can help to implement UHC through activities such as experience sharing, study visit and Cross-country research for example COVID-19 and Health Financing in Thailand, which was conducted.
Trust can be built, and the network can serve as facilitator across other areas of health financing, which support collaborative work and a long-term partnership.
During the meeting, the P4H SG members voted on Thailand’s membership through an online poll:
The poll reflected 10 out of the 10 present P4H members voted yes, making Thailand’s acceptance into P4H a unanimous yes. The representative from Thailand waited for the vote results in a separate breakout room.
After the Thailand representatives returned from the breakout rooms, Alex Schulze, SG Co-Chair, presented the results of the voting. He stated that the results were positive and welcomed Thailand to the P4H network. He reminded them that P4H Network SG members are expected to contribute to strategic discussions at different levels including global, regional, and national. He emphasized that Thailand covers all the levels and has shown a clear interest in strategic discussion. He also explained that the P4H would like to strengthen the capacity of low-income countries, which he believed Thailand can help do given its experience with UHC.