Thaihealth has become a model for ASEAN

25 September/Bangkok—The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) on Thursday commended the workHPfund1 of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, and conveyed their heartfelt congratulations to the organization for its leadership in the region on sustainable financial mechanism for Health Promotion.

SEATCA Director Ms. Bungon Rithiphakdee said, “ThaiHealth’s enactment and implementation of groundbreaking work with regards to sustainable funding mechanisms for health promotion has become best practice emulated and replicated by our ASEAN neighbors. We deeply admire ThaiHealth’s model initiated by the Government of Thailand to be an independent state agency funded by 2% surcharge tax of tobacco and alcohol excise taxes. The fund has been used to promote healthy lifestyles, uplift quality of lives and safeguard the health of nations.”

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“Strengthening health promotion and tobacco control programmes is crucial for addressing the social and economicburden of NCDs and tobacco-caused diseases. Unfortunately, health promotion and tobacco control activities are usually not public health priorities of many governments. This is reflected in the often limited budget allocation for health promotion and tobacco control activities, compared to the much larger budget provided for curative and acute health care. As a result, tobacco control and health promotion programmes are inadequately staffed and severely under-resourced in most nations,” Ms. Ritthiphakdee added.

HPfund3Establishing a sustainable financial mechanism to support health promotion and tobacco control programs is critical for all countries. Based on Thailand’s experience, a surcharged tax from tobacco and alcohol industries is an ideal mechanism based on the polluters-pay principle, as it has been shown to be a win-win policy for health and revenues, while leaving the government’s general budget to be fully utilized for existing government programs,

A two-day ASEAN Regional Workshop on Sustainable Financial Mecnhanism for Tobacco Control, begins today 25 September 2014, and is co-organized by the ThaiHealth at their Learning Center in Bangkok, Thailand. The workshop invited 70 participants from 8 countries in ASEAN. Objectives are:

• For countries that do not yet have sustainable funding for tobacco control, to discuss the process and challenges for establishing such a mechanism;

• For countries that have already established a sustainable funding mechanism, to discuss the development, implementation and challenges of an effective operational/business plan;

• To discuss regional networking and cooperation among ASEAN member states on this issue;

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 For queries, please contact: Ms. Joy F. Alampay, Communications Manager, joy@seatca.org/ +639175326749