Top Stories : Statement on Ebola Preparedness and Response by the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health News

Top Stories : Statement on Ebola Preparedness and Response by the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health

Statement on Ebola Preparedness and Response

By Dr. Suriya Wongkongkathep,

Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand

The Executive Board Special Session on the Ebola Emergency

25 January 2015, WHO HQ, Geneva


Madam Chair,

Excellencies from country Member States,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Government of Thailand, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, for organizing this important meeting.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are deeply concerned that the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak is a major burden causing significant death, illness and strain on the health care system in West Africa and the “unprecedented extent” of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa constitutes a threat to international security, which requires urgent action and greater national, regional and international collaboration.

In this regard, Thailand strongly supports the efforts for the fight against Ebola. We started the national-wide preparedness and response in June 2014. The policy was promptly adopted under the National Committee on EIDs. The Ebola surveillance was established for the detection of Ebola on travelers from affected countries at airports, patient screening in hospitals as well as communities. The medical centres are designated and being prepared for Ebola cases and two reference laboratories were set up for timely detection. The stockpiling of PPE and training were provided to public health facilities countrywide. The public has been updated on Ebola situation through information, education and communication. We have strengthened national IHR core capacity and supported capacities.  Moreover, our contributing efforts for controlling Ebola is not just containing outbreak nor preventing to transmit in our country. As Thailand is a middle income country, we provided the financial, material and risk support to Ebola affected countries. We donated 155,000 US dollar’s worth of rice.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On 15 December 2014, Thailand convened the ASEAN Plus Three Health Minister’s Special Meeting on Ebola Preparedness and Response in Bangkok. The Meeting was attended by Health Ministers/representatives of the ASEAN Member States and the Plus Three Countries including China, Japan and Republic of Korea. Secretary General of ASEAN, Regional Directors of the two regional World Health Organizations offices: Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) and South East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) also attended.

The meeting shared the commitment through the joint statement among ASEAN Plus Three Member States in developing a regional framework for action to be implemented which aimed to strengthen and maintain preparedness for EIDs and other public health emergencies. The immediate actions within ASEAN Plus Three countries were proposed in order to conduct training and simulation exercises, coordination for the joint investigation of Ebola, or other emerging infectious diseases outbreak, establish/enhance/implement screening of travelers at the Points of Entry (PoE) and follow-up on travelers from affected countries, establish or have access to Ebola diagnostic laboratory in the region, as well as share information on disease situation and response through IHR mechanism or ASEAN Plus Three Countries Emergency Operation Centre focal points.

In this regard, we are highly appreciative of the role of UN, WHO and Member states, their consistent support on Ebola preparedness and response as well as research and development to increase the availability of intervention tools for prevention, detection, treatment and control of emerging infectious diseases; whereas in the immediate term, focusing the collaborative efforts to accelerate the development of vaccine and therapeutic agents for Ebola.

We hope our friends in Ebola affected countries will soon control and recover from this Ebola crisis. We affirm our full commitment to work together with all Member States and partners to provide the best possible support to control Ebola in West Africa.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Global and Regional health challenges cannot be addressed effectively without strong health systems. Thailand is committed to continuously and proactively contributing to strengthening public health systems to support the enhancement of capacity of preparedness and response to Emerging Infectious Diseases; to develop human resources for health; to strengthen primary health care; as well as share experiences of Universal Health Coverage.

Thank you.