ThaiHealth on its 15-year path of health promotion
14 years going on 15
if compared to the human age, it is like we are going on to the teenage years, full of experience, ready for the next challenges.
Since day one, ThaiHealth’s work of health promotion is seen across the country – in community, tambon, district, and provincial levels, in private organisations, government offices, and even in the country’s biggest organisational leaders and international organisations
Health care is not just the task of doctors and nurses, but it’s of everyone’s participation. No matter how advanced the medical science is, no matter how doctors are so proficient that they can transplant human head. If people care less about their own health, the advanced medical science is no good to them especially now when the country’s budget is somewhat limited.
The trend of out-of-hospital healthcare promotes preventive measures for people who do not want to frequent medical treatments or hospitals.
The issue of proactive health promotion has been raised 20 years ago in the World Health Organisation conference and it resulted in the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. The charters touches big issues like worldwide health promotion, pushing many countries to constitute health-related promotion policies such as physical activity, cigarette quitting, and use of safety belt, to prevent grave injuries caused by accident. The meaning of the term “Health Promotion” is growing larger and larger to meet the changing environment and the fast-pacing society.
Thai Health Promotion Foundation or ThaiHealth was established in 2001 with an objective to initiate, push forward, stimulate, support, and cooperate with various organisations to propel the health promotion process so that Thai people have good health in all four aspects – body, mind, brain, and society. The organisation also has a mission to “create happiness for all”.
ThaiHealth has continuously been promoting good health by trying to reduce risk factors and to increase positive factors so that the society can achieve good health in all aspects. Therefore, ThaiHealth’s work is expanding larger every day, starting from endeavour to reduce consumption of alcohol and cigarette in order to reduce the loss caused by accidents, to promote safe and hygienic food and physical activity. considered a large and strong network, ThaiHealth also promotes good health in every part of the society, making healthy areas in more than 7,000 tambons, cities, organisations, covering 11 million people nationwide.
ThaiHealth’s 15 projects has driven forward the effort to create and return good health to the society in all aspects. In the past, there were many projects pushed forward by ThaiHealth, to name a few
“Stay off Alcohol During Lent” campaign has reduced losses and helped economise family economy on a large scale. Each year, there werea number of alcohol quitters thanks to this campaign.
“Alcohol-free Sport” campaign has made sport the real sport by reducing chance of infiltration to sport events and venues by alcohol businesses. The campaign also helped reduce the problem of sport brawl and stop sports associations from taking financial assistance from alcohol businesses.
“Alcohol-free temple events” campaign hopes to turn the current popular social value and behaviours upside down.
“Smoke-free Zone” campaign is to promote smoke-free zones to protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke. The campaign covered nearly all public spaces. It also expanded to “smoke-free homes”.
“No Sweet for Thai Kids” campaign has been initiated to trump the popular habit of sugar-eating which cause obesity and chronic diseases in Thai kids. The absence of soda pop and sweets in schools have created a tremendous change.
“No belly in Thai people” campaign has been initiated on the basis of Thai people’s chronic disease rooted from consumption of exceedingly seasoned food that is either too sweet, too salty, or too greasy. This is a big problem that needs solved immediately.
“Nutrition of Age” campaign promotes suitable alimentation for appropriate age which is an important foundation of life starting from the womb until childhood period. This kind of knowledge is being undergone a great dissemination on the national level.
“Healthy Zone” campaign is a joint project between local administrative offices and various relevant organisations to promote community-level and organisation-level health promotion. The number of model “Healthy Zones” is increasing continuously.
“Communication for Society” campaign has been initiated to help raise awareness and create new trend for the society, promoting creation of creative media for both kids and adults.
“Health Learning Centre” is followed by exhibition spaces and health caravan projects in several provinces of Thailand. The Central Health Learning Centre in Bangkok features a lot of events and activities for the public to participate.
The examples are just a small part of what ThaiHealth has been done for the past 14 years. If we were to explain them all, this tiny space in the newsletter section wouldn’t suffice. However, the examples above indicate that parts of the social jigsaw puzzle have gradually fit into one another, creating a much wider range of positive results.
Cigarette Thailand is now seeing a gradual decrease of the number of smokers since establishment of ThaiHealth. The smoking rate among Thai people reduced by as many as or 1.21 million people, representing a drop of 22%. However, a challenging situation still remains as the age of cigarette beginners’ reduced. ThaiHealth, therefore, must race to win over the fast-changing society in order to prevent youngsters from falling victims to smoking.
Alcoholic Beverage The number of alcoholic beverage drinkers among youngsters apparently reduced after 2011. After continuous monitoring and following-up on the behaviours of drinkers and smokers, it has found that drinking habit among youngsters reduced from 38.66% in 2011 to 28.99% in 2014, representing a drop of 10%. The statistics proved the same for late adults, reducing from 47.67% in 2011 to 44.06 in 2014. It has also been discovered that family expenses for drinking also reduced amidst serious competition of advertisements and promotions of alcohol businesses.
Accidents The statistics clearly indicate that the loss of life on the roads have gradually been decreasing thanks to ThaiHealth’s efforts to stimulate environment management by taking out drunk people from the streets and by promoting safe driving, helmet wearing, and safety belt using. From campaigns and studies conducted to adjust the policies for the past 9 years during 2004-2012, it has been found that the economic damage caused by road accidents reduced from 286.555 billion baht to 185.444 billion baht. It has proven that the campaigns have successfully helped reduce the number of injured, deaths, and disabled.
Physical Activity A survey has found that Thai people have continuously grown more accustomed to having physical activities while working, travelling, and being entertained as the number of people who are associated with physical activities increased from 66.3% in 2012 to 68.3% in 2014. In response, ThaiHealth has set a higher goal to support the encouragement campaigns in communities and in organisations to promote more physical activities, as it has been proven to help reduce NCDs in Thai people.
The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion was penned in the 1986 First International Conference on Health Promotion organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and held in Ottawa, Canada. The charter is the world’s first introduction of preventive health promotion and launched a series of actions among the world community to achieve the designated framework.
The International Network of Health Promotion Foundation (INHPF)
The International Network of Health Promotion Foundation was established in 1999 to enhance the performance of existing health promotion foundations worldwide. Established in the same manner of ThaiHealth, the INHPF is joined by 8 organisations from 7 countries, plus observing members from 6 countries. ThaiHealth plays a role in the INHPF by providing technical assistance leading to establishments of local health promotion foundations.
Thai Health Promotion Foundation
Thai Health Promotion Foundation was established on November 8, 2001. As a modern organisation with a shared mission with the World Health Assembly Resolution of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Itis a liberal foundation that spins off from government’s redundancy but still under supervision of the Prime MInister’s office. ThaiHealth receives its funding directly from producers and importers of alcohol andcigarette products at the rate of 2% of the tax liability.
“ThaiHealth is stepping forward towards the 15th year amidst challenges”