New Collaborative Practice Award Won by Thai Anti-Tobacco Alliance

(18.05.2015) An international award for bringing together several health professions in a major collaborative project has been won by the Thai Health Professional Alliance Against Tobacco.

The Alliance, set up 10 years ago to increase the awareness of tobacco hazards and to improve the health of the people of Thailand, was presented with the award by the World Health Professions Alliance at a ceremony in Geneva today. The annual award, presented for the first time this year, was established to recognise an outstanding interprofessional team that has improved patients’ health and promoted a collaborative approach to health care. The WHPA, an alliance of international physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and physical therapists, has as one of its key priorities interprofessional collaborative practice.

The Thai Health Professional Alliance Against Tobacco (THPAAT) was nominated for the award by the Medical Association of Thailand. Receiving the award today Prof. Dr. Somsri Pausawasdi, Chief Executive of the Medical Association, and President of THPAAT, said that the Alliance was set up in 2005 after Thailand’s King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, had expressed his wish to reduce the growing problem of cigarette addiction in the country. The Medical Association of Thailand had responded to the King’s wish by initiating the Alliance with the aim of recruiting a mixture of health professionals into the team to work together on an antismoking campaign.

Dr. Pausawasdi said: ‘It was clear that the best way to accomplish our goals was to create a collaborative interprofessional team and so the Medical Association collaborated with the Thai Health Foundation and recruited four more organizations including the Pharmacy Council, the Nurses’ Association, the Dental Association, and the Public Health association to join the team. Over the years, our network has expanded and we currently have 21 different health professionals under the support of the Thai government. The goals of our team are to promote a reduction in tobacco use and enforce a smoke free society as national health policy’.

Dr. Pausawasdi said the Alliance’s work had embraced activities in the fields of education, working with public, private and community hospitals to create a national network of more than 300 smoking cessation clinics and encouraging research. It had also campaigned for a tobacco-free environment for the nation.

‘Under the anti-smoking campaign originated by THPAAT, we now have a smoking-free environment in 47 universities, all hospitals and most of the pharmacies in the nation. Our team is currently working on setting up a tobacco-free environment in police stations, public and work places across the nation. We have also implemented a larger graphic health warning on cigarette packages from 55 per cent to 85 per cent of the cover and are actively involved in the national policy on tobacco control.

‘Finally, we have joined together with other organizations and many foundations to initiate “the National Alliance for Tobacco Free Thailand - NATFT” in 2013 to push forward the act of legislation on tobacco control for our nation. Currently, the NATFT has more than 1400 members and 729 organizations. We are working towards the United Nations policy on non-communicable diseases to decrease the tobacco consumption rate to 15 per cent by the year 2025.  We do hope that our experience can inspire tobacco control initiatives in other countries, and together we can create a healthier world for us and for generations to come.’