Connect with us


New wealth brings new health problems, ASEAN Secretary-General tells Phuket meeting

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), yesterday warned that the rise in wealth throughout the ASEAN member states will bring a new wave of health issues to the region.

“The formation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 will make some people richer. With their new lifestyle will come new health issues; non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes,” said Mr Surin.

Citing a report focusing on ASEAN countries, he said that 4 million people died from such “lifestyle” diseases each year. The report revealed that of the causes of death of people in ASEAN countries, about 2.5 million people – or 60 per cent – died due to non-communicable disease.

“The causes may include lack of exercise, consuming too much alcohol or smoking too much. ASEAN must pay more attention to this issue, because the integration of the economies of each country may cause serious health problems,” he warned.

“Consideration should be given to any free trade marketing agreement that covers the import or export of alcohol, cigarettes or food,” Mr Surin added.

The ASEAN Secretary-General’s warning was delivered at the 11th ASEAN Health Ministers’ Meeting (AHMM), which began in Phuket on Monday and concluded today.

Thai Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri announced that it had been productive with a number of important issues discussed by the 10 ASEAN Public Health Ministers attending.

Held at the Mövenpick Hotel & Resort in Karon, the agenda focused on solving the main health problems and developing an ASEAN Public Health system.

Among the top items on the agenda were combating the rising incidence of HIV/AIDS and laying the foundation for a common public healthcare platform across ASEAN.

Although it was agreed that to include the ASEAN+3 group (China, Japan and Korea), any memorandum to adopt a common ruling that would allow foreign citizens to be treated free of charge in a fellow ASEAN country, would have to be ratified at the annual ASEAN Summit Meeting and the UN General Assembly.

The ministerial meeting also set “Triple Zero Targets” to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS. The “three zeros” were: no exclusion of HIV/AIDS infected patients; no new infected patients; and no deaths from HIV/AIDS.

Other aspects targeted by the Health Ministers were forming a coordinated response to a United Nations agreement concerning the spread of disease, including non-communicable diseases, by adopting the indicators and criteria laid down by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Also, the ministers discussed putting a stop to the tobacco and liquor industries promoting themselves under the guise of ‘corporate social responsibility’ strategies, such as community projects and similar.

Measures to combat tobacco and alcohol abuse, and the subsequent health problems, also included examining taxes levied against those products and their exclusion from ASEAN Free Trade Agreements.

The Health Ministers of the 10 member countries also discussed the creation of a framework to encourage the coordination among the epidemiology fieldwork network.

This would include establishing measures to prevent and manage emerging-reemerging infectious diseases, especially dengue fever and drug-resistant Malaria, using a network of epidemiologists in the field.

Mr Wittaya believes that Thailand could provide the backbone of an epidemiology expert network for ASEAN.

The meeting also focused on the impact of public health after entering the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

“It will mean that within ASEAN countries, people, goods and finances will be able to travel freely,” said Mr Wittaya.

“Each country will have to develop a healthcare system for their own country capable of treating other ASEAN countries’ citizens. It is better to work together than do it alone,” he said.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Best of8 mins ago

Chiang Mai’s 5 best eco-friendly hotels

Coronavirus (Covid-19)20 mins ago

‘Dark red’ curfews, interprovincial public transport ban possibly until Aug 31 – CCSA

Thailand1 hour ago

The Thaiger launches the ‘I Am Strong’ campaign

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Chon Buri1 hour ago

Narcolepsy suspected as cause of car accident in Chon Buri

Best of2 hours ago

Top 5 hair salons in Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Healthcare worker pleads with PM to set up “war room” to manage pandemic

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Best of2 hours ago

The best backpacker hostels in Phuket

Politics2 hours ago

Official detained after spreading rumour of planned coup to oust PM

Business3 hours ago

Thai AirAsia suspends flights, cuts salaries as financial woes continue

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 17,970 new cases and 178 deaths

Phuket3 hours ago

Phuket sealed off from tomorrow in bid to curb virus spread, save sandbox

Coronavirus Vaccines4 hours ago

Bangkok vaccination centres shut down at weekend due to vaccine shortages

Thailand9 hours ago

Thailand conservation adds 17 rare Indochinese tigers this year

Pattaya10 hours ago

Man falls off 4th story roof only breaking arm and chin

Thailand14 hours ago

Family finds long lost man after he is rescued from 17 metre well

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8