The University of New England is leading a cross-border venture between Australia and Thailand that will significantly improve the quality of healthcare administered to the underprivileged population in rural and remote areas of Thailand.
The Australian Health Alliance, which includes UNE, the Australian College of Health Executives and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine signed an agreement with the Thai Health Alliance on 23 February to assist with rural doctor training.
The venture utilises UNE expertise to improve the teaching and training of rural family doctors in Thailand. The program will see Thai family doctors trained as lecturers, and regular doctors trained in rural healthcare.
Dr Siriwat Tiptaradol, Deputy Secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health who spoke on behalf of the Thai Health Alliance, which incorporates Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health, National Health Security Office and Thai Royal College of Family Physicians, said the project was significant and would greatly assist the quality of rural healthcare in Thailand.
“I am very confident that, with the strong commitment and support from our Australian partners, including UNE, this project will in the future prove to be one of the best models for successful international collaboration,” Dr Tiptaradol said.
At the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, UNE’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Jim Barber, spoke of Thailand’s importance to UNE. He said the MOU was a milestone in the relationship between UNE and the health sector in Thailand.
“This is a very significant milestone,” Professor Barber said. “It’s one that extends this relationship right into the ‘heartland of health’ – that is, healthcare delivery and management.
“We’d like to think that at UNE we are leading Australia in the practice of rural and remote medicine.”
“We have invested heavily in our Schools of Health and Rural Medicine, and quality training of rural doctors is very important to our future – just as it is very important to yours,” he said, thanking Dr Tiptaradol.
Professor Barber commended everybody who had brought the venture to this stage.
“Thank you for choosing UNE, and I can assure you you won’t be sorry,” he said.