Thai govt agency helping neighbouring countries fight Covid-19
Thailand is using digital technology and communication channels to help neighbouring countries combat Covid-19.
Pattarat Hongtong, Director-General of the Foreign Ministry’s Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), said the agency is working to support Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos to contain the virus as that they share a border for thousands of kilometres and the outbreak is an international matter that requires sustainable and international cooperation.
“Thailand's development cooperation, despite covering all countries, focuses on Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, which are at the heart of Thai foreign affairs,” said Pattarat. “Any incident in neighbouring countries would impact Thailand whether on security, trade, or economic prosperity."
TICA has led a coordinated effort among Thai agencies to strengthen neighbouring countries’ Covid-19 response since March 2020. Recognising that each country has specific public health challenges, Thailand is now reaching out to Myanmar, where the epidemic is taking a severe daily toll of 500-1,000 new cases and 10-20 deaths. TICA is collaborating with the Thai Department of Disease Control and Department of Medicine to share medical equipment and knowledge with Myanmar medics and officials. Among its latest projects is a collaboration with the Department of Medical Sciences to develop a model for low-cost Covid-19 laboratories to boost Myanmar’s test-and-trace mission to contain the virus.
TICA is also using digital technology to raise awareness of disease prevention in communities on both sides of the border, including migrant workers. Measures feature teleconferencing to upgrade cooperation between different provinces, online medical consultations between public health offices and district hospitals, and online training to help medics and officials in neighbouring countries treat severely ill Covid-19 patients and also establish emergency operation centres. The agency also runs a public health and medicine “TICA’s Knowledge Bank on COVID-19” to share Thai experiences and expertise with neighbouring countries via YouTube and other online platforms.
Meanwhile, Thailand is delivering urgently needed medical supplies to its neighbours, especially Myanmar, including PPE kits, one million surgical masks, blood gas analysers, 70,000 doses of Favipiravir, and oximeters. Also being shipped to Myanmar is RT-PCR laboratory equipment and a disease prevention monitoring system, while Laos and Cambodia are receiving their own deliveries of Thai aid to combat the virus.
Pattarat said Thailand has adopted the Sufficiency Economy principle of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great in its regional Covid-19 response, focusing on “economical, simple and efficient” measures that ensure equal treatment for all people.