ThaiHealth: An Innovative Health Promotion Organization towards Nelson Mandela Award for Health Promotion 2021

                    Management and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)  is receiving a significant attention, because they are the leading causes of mortality worldwide.  and in Thailand. In fact, eight out of the ten burden of diseases in Thailand are linked to risk factors for NCDs, such as smoking, high blood sugar levels, high body mass index, high blood pressure, and alcohol consumption. These risk factors are incorporated into ThaiHealth’s health promotion plans under the concept of “prevention is better than cure,” aiming to reduce the number of people getting sick as well as improving public well-being.

ThaiHealth: A Leading Health Promotion Organization Achieving WHO Best Buy Standards…

                   ThaiHealth is a government agency established under the Health Promotion Foundation Act B.E. 2544 (2001). Its objectives encompass promoting health in accordance with national health policies, enhancing the capacity of communities and organization across various sectors, supporting health promotion research and knowledge, and raising public awareness about the risks factors of NCDs, such as alcohol and tobacco consumption.

                   ThaiHealth has supported academic efforts, social mobilization and policy advocacy to manage the risk factors of NCDs. This has contributed to a fall in the adult smoking rate from 25.5% in 2001 to 17.4% in 2021 and the adult alcohol consumption rate from 32.7% in 2004 to 28.0% in 2021. The rate of adequate physical activity rose from 66.3% in 2012 to 74.6% in 2019, but fell to 57.5% in 2021 as a result of the public health and social measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Additionally, the number of road traffic fatalities dropped from 21,996 in 2011 to 16,957 deaths in 2021. Consequently, Thailand has become the leader in Southeast Asian Region (SEAR) in the effective implementation of WHO Best Buy measures.


Two Decades of being “An Innovative Health Promotion Organization” Led to the Prestigious Award 

                   Over the past two decades, ThaiHealth has served as an “innovative health promotion organization,” utilizing financial mechanisms derived from additional excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol to mitigate the risk factors and enhance health factors. Specifically, it has funded 3,000 health initiatives annually through collaboration with networks across all sectors of society to effect positive change, ranging from improving individual capabilities for a healthy lifestyle to enbling supportive environments, policies, and social structures to promote well-being.

                   With its recognized achievements in health promotion, the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth) was awarded the “Nelson Mandela Award for Health Promotion 2021” by the World Health Organization (WHO). The award was given based on five reasons, as listed below.

  1. Supporting and advancing the development of laws and policies to promote well-being, such as the 2017 Tobacco Products Control Act and the restriction of alcohol advertising
  2. Promoting the transformation of social norms towards a healthier and more equitable society, for example campaigns for alcohol-free religious events and supporting the preparation and fair employment of persons with disabilities
  3. Taking a leading role in demonstrating the effectiveness of financial innovative mechanisms in health promotion and providing academic assistance to lower middle-income countries in establishing health promotion foundations, such as Mongolia, Malaysia, South Korea, Vietnam, and Laos PDR.
  4. Delivering proven value to Thai society with its ability to respond to emerging crises promptly, such as helping to prepare Thai society for the “new normal” by communicating campaigns, launching new initiatives, and adjusting existing plans/initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  5. Contributing to improvements in health indicators and outcomes, such as reducing alcohol consumption rates and increasing the number of Thais engaged in adequate physical activity.


Towards the Third Decade: Moving Forward, Uniting and Empowering Efforts to Promote Thai People’s Health

                   Advancing into its third decade, ThaiHealth still remains committed to cultivating change, innovating, and advancing innovations to ensure all people living in Thialand achieve good health and  well-being. It will continue to play a crucial role in shifting social values towards better health and equity. Under the vision that “Every person living in Thailand has a lifestyle, society, and environment conducive to good health,” ThaiHealth serves to spark, encourage, unite and empower individuals and organizations across all sectors to cultivate the capacity and build a social system conducive to good health, thereby driving Thai society towards a  well-being society.

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