Expert panel discuss impact of UHC on access to treatment for HIV/AIDS patients at ICAAP 2013

Thailand's universal HIV/AIDS treatment inspires ASEAN countries at International Congress

Nov 20, 2013

Thailand's journey to providing treatment and care to people living with HIV and AIDS was the subject of a panel discussion at the 11th International Congress on AIDS in ASIA and the Pacific (ICAAP).

UNDP Thailand partnered with the National Health Security Office (NHSO), the Ministry of Public Health's Department of Disease Control and the Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency for a 'satellite session' at the region's largest forum on HIV/AIDS.

The session, entitled 'South-South Cooperation on Universal Health Coverage: The journey of Universal Access to Antiretroviral Treatment in Thailand', was held at Bangkok's Queen Sirikit Convention Center and saw the country's experiences, and lessons learned, shared with some 200 participants representing community groups, academia, governments, and development agencies.

After watching a video highlighting Thailand's strategy to ensure HIV patients receive essential treatment and care, speeches highlighted the importance of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a means to an equitable and healthy society, and delivered success stories aimed at  inspiring other countries in the region to take action.

Following opening remarks from Luc Stevens, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, and Suchada Thaibunthao, Deputy Director-General of Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency, Dr Sorkij Bhakeecheep, Director of the Bureau of Secondary and Tertiary Care Support at the NHSO introducved the components of UHC's Knowledge Package.

Inspiring speeches from Dr Taweesap Siraprapasiri, Director of National AIDS Management Center and Apiwat Kwangkaew, President of Thailand Network of People Living with HIV, highlighted the importance of UHC in changing the lives of Thai people.

Later, Siti Nadia Tarmizt, head of Subdirectorate AIDS and STI at the Ministry for Health of the Republic of Indonesia, shared her South-South Cooperation experiences and lessons learned from Thailand's UHC programme, before Dr Thant Zin Min, AIDS/STD team leader of National AIDS Programme, Mawlamyaing, Myanmar, presented a roadmap for bilateral partnership between Thailand and Myanmar on universal access to ARV treatment for cross-border migrants.

Ways in which the South-South Cooperation can contribute positively to people living with HIV worldwide were proposed by Dr Sumet Ongwandee, director of the Bureau of AIDS, TB and STIs at the Ministry of Public Health, who looked at the way forward for the South-South Cooperation.