Last January 24-25 January 2012, high level officials from Lao PDR visited Bangkok, Thailand, for a study visit on Tobacco Control and Health Promotion Fund. Dr. Bounkong Syhavong, Vice Minister of Ministry of Health, along with representatives from Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Prime Minister Officer and WHO, participated in the two-day study visit facilitated by SEATCA. The delegates learned and shared experiences on the Thai Health Promotion Foundation and approaches and benefits of establishing the health promotion fund from tobacco tax revenue.
The Thai Health Promotion Fund has a number of best practices in utilizing tobacco tax revenue to promote a healthy lifestyle for Thais, and this provided Lao PDR with necessary knowledge to facilitate the process of moving their national decree on the health promotion fund establishment to the National Assembly. They were also able to understand practical approaches and challenges they might face in the near future. Furthermore, the consultation session by Prof. Prakit Vathesatogkit, Advisor to ThaiHealth, Ms.Bungon Ritthiphakdee, Director of SEATCA and Dr. Supreda Adulyanon, Deputy CEO of ThaiHealth was beneficial to the delegates in gaining both knowledge and confidence to pursue setting up a health promotion fund in Lao PDR.