Thailand’s Readiness In Combating The Influenza A (H1N1) Ministry of Foreign Affairs

May 13, 2009 by  
Filed under H1N1 Flu Watch

Thailand is monitoring the situation very closely in the wake of recent Influenza A (H1N1) outbreak in the Americas, Europe, and other parts of the world. Until now,there is no confirmed Influenza A (H1N1) case in the Kingdom, and Thailand should be considered to be safe from the virus.

However, in the light of the decision by the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise the current level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to 5, Thailand is actively implementing policy and measures to prevent and control the spread of Influenza A (H1N1).

With experiences gained from the successful combat and containment of SARS ( Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome ) during 2003-2004 and the Avian Influenza during 2004-2005 2003, Thailand is prepared for this current outbreak. On 29 April 2009, by the instruction of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the National Committee on the Preparedness and Response to Pandemic Influenza has been established as a national inter-agency mechanism for policy making and strategic determination to prevent and control the pandemic influenza under given circumstances, as well as to assist affected persons. The Ministries of Public Health, Foreign Affairs, and the Department of Livestock Development are among concerned agencies working together under the national committee. This committee also implements the Master Operational Plan for Pandemic Influenza Preparedness B.E. 2552 (2009) which has been put in place by the Ministry of Public Health, and adopted by the Thai Cabinet since 8 April 2009.

The Minister of Public Health has ordered that the Operation Center for Preparedness and Response to Pandemic Influenza be set up at the Ministry of Public Health, with two 24-hour hotlines in service, namely, the Ministry of Public Health Hotline 1669 (for calls within Thailand), and the Department of Disease Control tel. 02 590 3333 (for calls within Thailand) or tel. +66 2 590 3333 (for calls from abroad).

Thai public health authority has also activated other preventive measures, including monitoring and screening of inbound international travelers; deployment of Thermo Scans at every international airport in Thailand; distribution of Health Beware Cards and health questionnaire to inbound international travelers, in collaboration with international airlines; and coordination with tour companies, hotels and airlines in order to take care and give advice to travelers. On 6 May 2009, the Ministry of Public Health will also hold a meeting with all provincial governors to activate and reinforce implementation of provincial pandemic preparedness plan as well as to run a medical simulation exercise on the emergency situation in case of an outbreak anywhere in the Kingdom. Health officers and health volunteers all over the country have also been participating in the national effort to monitor the influenza.

At the regional and international level, Thailand has been enjoying close collaboration with the WHO and is actively working together with the WHO to combat the H1N1 outbreak. As the current Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Thailand has offered to be a venue for ASEAN Health Ministers as well as their counterparts from the People’s Republic of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, to meet and discuss on the epidemic. The ASEAN+3 Health Ministers’ Special Meeting on Influenza A (H1N1) will be held on 8 May 2009 in Bangkok, under the joint chairmanship of the Health Ministers of Thailand and the Philippines, and will be officially opened by the Thai Prime Minister himself. The meeting has main objectives to review and assess the emergency situation of Influenza A (H1N1) globally and in the ASEAN region; to update on current measures being carried out by the ASEAN Member States; to explore collective strategies, measures and actions to combat Influenza A (H1N1) in the ASEAN region; and to generate consensus and political commitment among the ASEAN+3 Ministers of Health on policies necessary to address this situation.

Despite the outbreak and the preventive health measures taken, Thailand still welcomes international travelers. Pork products in Thailand are safe for human consumption, and medical service in Thailand is of international standard. The public health authority in Thailand has full confidence that, with our level of preparedness gained through past experiences, collaboration with the WHO and with other countries, and cooperation from the general public, we shall be able to continue to put situation under control in Thailand.


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Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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