18 May 2020
H.E. Mr. Sek Wannamethee
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand
to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva
on “COVID-19 Pandemic”
virtual meeting of the Ministers of Health of
the Foreign Policy and Global Health (FPGH) Initiative
18 May 2020, 10.30 – 11.30 CET
Your Excellency Mr. Terawan Agus Putranto, Minister of Health of Indonesia,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, Thailand wishes to express our sincere appreciation for Indonesia’s leadership and initiative in organizing this meeting at an extraordinary time.
As countries continue to fight the unprecedented spread of COVID-19 in successive waves, remaining united and forging solidarity is imperative.
Fighting against this pandemic has taught us three valuable lessons:
FIRST, strong and resilient national health systems are the foundation of global health security.
Our continued investment in primary health care, particularly in well-trained and committed health care workers as well as surveillance systems, has proved invaluable.
At the global level, we believe that WHO should continue to play a leading role in health emergency preparedness and in supporting Member States to strengthen their national health systems.
In this regard, Thailand remains fully committed to WHO Solidarity Trial, and welcomes the Access to COVID-19 tools (ACT) Accelerator, the Solidarity Call for Action of the President of Costa Rica, as well as the historic draft resolution on “COVID-19 Response” to be adopted at this Assembly. These will help ensure the universal access without financial barrier of relevant health technologies and products.
SECOND, we believe that implementing UHC is key to providing a timely response to health emergencies.
The Thai Government is committed to ensuring universal access to public health services, both COVID-19 related and other essential health services, with no discrimination.
In this regard, expenses on essential health services related to COVID-19 are fully covered by Thai UHC, protecting everyone on the Thai soil from financial hardship.
THIRD, we believe that inclusive participation is key to successful COVID-19 preparedness and response.
We engage village health volunteers and community leaders in COVID-19 prevention and detection activities, ranging from tracking, contact tracing, quarantine, social distancing, hygienic behaviours including hand hygiene and face mask.
As the WHO Director-General rightly pointed out: “through national unity and global solidarity, we can save both lives and livelihood”.
The Thai Government ensures that all individuals are provided with necessary social safety nets. Our immediate priority is for the most vulnerable, including liquidity boosting for labor in affected industry.
As the economy emerges from physical distancing, we are also scaling up our reskilling and upskilling programmes. Businesses are encouraged to create labour trainings, benefiting from tax incentives, loans and grants.
This pandemic shows us that health security will never be attained without health equity, as the marginalized and vulnerable are often most affected.
We therefore reiterate our commitments under previous joint communiqués and statements of the FPGH Group, and look forward to the 2020 FPGH Joint Ministerial Statement on COVID-19 and Affordable Health Care For All.
We fully support our group’s common determination to achieve UHC by 2030 through providing equitable access to comprehensive health services and care for COVID-19 while not neglecting other health services.
As a cross-regional group, FPGH Member States could support one another in building long-term capacities for health interventions, and further collaborating to address supply chain gaps through local production of COVID-19 related health technologies, and, as appropriate, through joint production and distribution schemes of such technologies.
The FPGH countries should also strengthen regional resilience of health systems within existing cooperation frameworks by providing deeper support and assistance to the most vulnerable, especially in remote areas, for their enhanced protection and dignity as human being.
As a member of the international community, Thailand has been committed, and today more than ever before, to overcome COVID-19 in the spirit of national, regional and international unity and solidarity.
We have left no one behind….. And we will leave no one behind in this effort.