Press Release : Announcement of South-South Cooperation on Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (EMTCT) of HIV and Syphilis: Sharing Thailand’s EMTCT Best Practice with the World news3

Press Release : Announcement of South-South Cooperation on Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (EMTCT) of HIV and Syphilis: Sharing Thailand’s EMTCT Best Practice with the World

Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Thailand Office, co-organised the “Announcement of South-South Cooperation on Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (EMTCT) of HIV and Syphilis: Sharing Thailand’s EMTCT Best Practice with the World” on 28 February 2019, at Narathip Auditorium, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Participants included representatives from relevant public health sector with expertise in maternal and child health, representatives from the diplomatic corps in Thailand, development agencies, international organisations, civil society organisations and the media.

Mr. Arthayudh Srisamoot, Deputy Permanent-Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presided over the event and delivered welcome remarks, mentioning the 70 years of cooperation between Thailand and UNICEF to promote issues related to children such as early childhood development and migrant children on international platforms. The Deputy Permanent-Secretary stressed the importance of South-South and triangular cooperation in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Thailand has expertise and experience in public health that can be shared with other developing countries, and is one of the areas of cooperation that TICA is keen to support through development projects, scholarships, trainings and dispatch of experts.

During the Announcement of South-South Cooperation on Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (EMTCT) of HIV and Syphilis: Sharing Thailand’s EMTCT Best Practice with the World, Dr. Panpimol Wipulakorn, Director-General, Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, praised the continued contribution of partners from different sectors, including universities, civil society organisations, international organisations, and United Nations agencies, to Thailand’s success in EMTCT. The Ministry of Public Health supports the South-South Cooperation on EMTCT of HIV and Syphilis. The mother-to-child transmission of HIV rate in Thailand declined from 10.3 percent in 2003 to 1.68 percent in 2017 and the Ministry of Public Health is determined to reduce it to below 1 percent by 2020. Ms. Beena Kuttiparambil, Chief of Adolescents Development and Participation, UNICEF Thailand, emphasised that South-South Cooperation is a valuable tool in protecting the rights of children and young people. Thailand has the capacity and is ready to share with the world its good practices in EMTCT, which is a key milestone towards ending AIDS, and its experience in universal health care and quality service for mother and child. In the past, UNICEF has supported many countries’ study visits to Thailand such as China, India, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Iran.

In the panel discussion on “EMTCT of HIV and Syphilis in Thailand: yesterday’s effort, today’s success, and future prospect”, Mrs. Sasitorn Wongweerachotkit, Deputy Director-General of TICA, elaborated on Thailand’s international development cooperation in the health sector both in South-South and North-South-South frameworks and expressed readiness to initiate new partnerships in the future.

In 2016 Thailand was the second country in the world, the first in Asia, to receive certificate of validation from the World Health Organization (WHO) for successfully eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. The Ministry of Public Health and partners succeeded in maintaining the standard of their work and Thailand was revalidated in 2018. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Health and UNICEF deem it an important task to expand the existing network of knowledge sharing to benefit more partner countries in their effort to achieve EMTCT by facilitating access to Thailand’s best practices and lessons learned through a well-structured and sustainable South-South and Trilateral Cooperation. This collaboration also aims to build capacity of relevant Thai agencies as a global knowledge hub for EMTCT. Possible future activities under the Thailand - UNICEF cooperation will include international study visits, customised training courses for countries at different stages in their EMTCT processes, partnership building and knowledge sharing on global platforms, and identifying and supporting potential Thai institutions to be able to engage in international cooperation.