To enhance the eHealth programs of their respective countries, and to strengthen the internationalization programs of their universities, the Institute of Philippine Culture-Ateneo de Manila University (IPC) and Chulalongkorn University jointly held an eHealth conference in Bangkok, Thailand, last October 12 to 13, 2015. The College of Public Health Sciences of Chulalongkorn University hosted the event.
Titled “Learning Interactions on eHEALTH Technologies at the Local Government Levels of the Philippines and Thailand, the Bangkok eHealth Conference aimed to look into the various eHealth programs of the local governments of the Philippines and Thailand, and to identify effective policies that would help proper implementation of eHealth systems in the two countries. This conference is in accordance with the World Health Organization’s goal of implementing eHealth systems in developing countries
The opening remarks of the Philippine Ambassador to Thailand Mary Jo A. Bernardo-Aragon were read by Ms Anna Marie Santos, the Vice-Consul in the Philippine Embassy in Thailand. Ambassador Aragon congratulated the Ateneo de Manila University and Chulalongkorn University for leading eHealth initiatives in their respective countries, and for cooperating in the Bangkok eHealth conference, as part of the imminent ASEAN integration. Dr. Sathirakorn Pongpanich, Dean of the College of Public Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, welcomed the participants to the conference. Dr. Ratana Somrongthong, Associate Dean of the College of Public Health Sciences, gave an overview of the two-day eHealth conference.
Boonchai Kijsanayotin, MD, Ph.D., Co-Chair of Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN), presented the state of eHealth in Thailand, and compared it to the systems present in the Philippines. He also introduced Thailand’s “eHealth roadmap” for the coming years. For his part, Dr. Dennis B. Batangan, MD, MSc (Heidelberg) of the Institute of Philippine Culture showed how the eHealth structures in the Philippines work, and how these systems are devolved to the local government units. Dr. Concepcion Antonino, Municipal Health Officer of Pulilan, Bulacan, also shared the experience of the municipality with eHATID (eHealth TABLET for Informed Decision-Making of LGUs project, directed by Dr. Dennis Batangan of the IPC).
On the second day of the Bangkok eHealth Conference, the participants visited the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute (BIDI) and the ICT Office of the Ministry of Public Health in Nonthaburi. These sessions enabled the participants to observe how eHealth systems, policies, and programs are implemented on the ground.
The Thailand eHealth team also plans to visit the Philippines in 2016—a continuation of the partnership between the two countries, both aiming to improve delivery of health in their localities.
eHATID is a project funded by the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development. It is a program aimed to inform local government leaders of notifiable diseases, and other health patient data, for better and informed decision-making in matters related to health. The project team has trained 171 municipal health offices since the last quarter of 2014, and aims to train 279 more by the end of the year.