Better transport needed to facilitate medical services in Thailand

The country needs to improve the transportation system for patients needing medical services, particularly accident victims, to reduce the risk of physical disabilities, Dr Wanee Pinprateep told a press conference yesterday. As head of a National Health Assembly subcommittee, she described the improvement as a solution for "Urban Health: Development of a participatory healthcare system in an urban area".

The public and private sectors should boost their co-operation to improve health services in urban areas, she said.

She was speaking at the three-day 8th National Health Assembly under the theme of "Synergy of Wisdom and Network, Creation of a path to Thai well-being" that ended yesterday at Impact in Nonthaburi.

The event attracted 2,618 people from the public and private sectors. The participants came together to exchange information and discuss recommendations on healthy public policies or public health.

On the "Revisit of the NHA resolution on the management of smoke affecting health", Wanee said it was suggested that a committee of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and other agencies be established to tackle the problem.

"Studies on using agricultural waste are also among the proposed solutions because when agricultural waste is gone, farmers won't have to light a fire to clear them," she said.

She said it was agreed at the forum that an ASEAN-level committee would address the haze problem that hit many ASEAN nations, including Thailand this year.

Jetsada Mingsamon, head of the Eighth National Health Assembly, said the resolution on "Well-being of farmers" that was approved by the committee included establishing a committee of the National Farmers Council, Thai farmer unions and agencies to support rice farmers' health, such as organic rice farming and demand-oriented farming.

The committee also said the National Farmers Council should have representatives on the Rice Management and Policy Committee and the Joint Committee of the Public and Private Sectors.

Besides urban health, haze and the well-being of rice farmers, three other topics were discussed at the meeting including the crisis of anti-microbial resistance and integrated problem-solving, and the policy on reduced salt and sodium consumption for non-communicable disease reduction.

The proposed agenda discussed during the forum was selected based on four criteria - importance of the issue, magnitude of the problem, public interest and feasibility of the issue to become a policy or an action.

The result will be submitted to the National Health Commission, chaired by the prime minister. After that, the recommendations will be submitted to the Cabinet.

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