Science, Technology & Innovation : GACD International Secretariat Team visits Royal Thai Embassy News

Science, Technology & Innovation : GACD International Secretariat Team visits Royal Thai Embassy

On the occasion of the Annual board meeting of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) held in Ottawa during May 31 – June 1, 2015, the GACD International Secretariat team took the opportunity of their being in town to pay a courtesy call on Ambassador Vijavat on June 2, 2015, to report on the results of the board meeting and to follow up on the potential relationship between Thailand and GACD.

The team consisted of Ms. Celina Gorre (Executive Director-second from right), Ms. Dorothea Kanthack-Chan (Senior Program Officer—first from right), Ms. Rosie Bartlett (Communications Manager--middle) and Dr. Simon Thompson (Research Coordinator—second from left).  The Secretariat is based in London and operates out of the University College London (UCL), which serves as host institution. 

For readers who are not familiar with the team, GACD, is an international organizating originated in 2007 that seeks to coordinate research programs on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among member countries.  GACD promotes implementation-based research and the sharing of scientific evidence with policymakers.  Currently, GACD members include Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Mexico, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  Their coordinated research programs, which began in 2010, include hypertension, diabetes, and lung diseases. 

In April, 2014, Thailand received an invitation to become a GACD member from Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of the CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research), who was then GACD chair elect.  Dr. Beaudet now chairs the GACD Board for a three-year term (2015-2017).

Since then, the Thai health research community has identified the Health System Research Institute (HSRI) as the focal agency in NCD research and Thailand’s representative at the GACD Board, should the final decision to join be favourable.  The HSRI has been working with the GACD International Secretariat and the Embassy in an ongoing process of deliberation.

During the meeting, Ms. Gorre informed the Ambassador that the Board has agreed on the topics of the new research programs for 2015, namely mental health and a revisit of hypertension research. 

Mental health is a new topic which has become an important concern in global health, partly due to the lack of attention to the illnesses.  On the other hand, a revisit of hypertension would allow researchers and policymakers to scale up disease intervention and move away from small projects toward national-level projects with public policy implications.

Ms. Gorre also reaffirmed the Secretariat’s commitment to work with the HSRI and the Embassy to facilitate the deliberation process of Thailand’s membership. 

Ambassador Vijavat used this opportunity to share his experience in Geneva on Thailand’s active role in global health, particularly its longstanding participation in the Foreign Policy and Global Health Initiative, which was founded nearly a decade ago by France, Norway, South Africa, Senegal, Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand, in order to highlight the importance of global health issues in foreign policy. 

This information was well received by the Secretariat team as it is in their mission to expand GACD networks with both countries and international organizations.  Touching base with the Foreign Policy and Global Health Initiative group seems to fit this objective very appropriately.



After the meeting, we continued to enjoy the team’s company as they accepted the Embassy’s invitation to watch a friendly soccer game that afternoon between our women’s national team, which was in town for the FIFA World Cup matches in Ottawa, and a local club team, Capital United.   It was indeed a sportive and entertaining ending to our meeting.



 

Reported by

Supanai Sookmark