The Network: Towards Unity For Health meets in Thailand!

This year’s The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH) conference was held from November 16-20 in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

The conference guiding theme was “Rural and Community-Based Healthcare: Opportunities and Challenges for the 21st Century”.

The local host was The Princess Naradhiwas University, a university that was established in the south of Thailand to serve the rural frontier provinces, and whose first graduates celebrated their graduation during this conference. Other organising partners were GHETS, THEnet, FAIMER and the University of Illinois, College of Medicine at Rockford.

There were 220 participants from 35 countries all over the world present, with a strong participation of developing countries.

As usual the conference was a perfect networking opportunity and had a combination of inspiring key note speeches, poster sessions and innovative workshops. It was a full varied and exciting programme. The site visits demonstrated some important achievements of the Thai health system: universal coverage and a strong PHC-system through the well organized and integrated Primary Health Care Centres, involving the community in prevention, care, rehabilitation.

The participants had the chance to experience a real Thai traditional festival, calle Loy Krathong, traditionally held at the full moon of the end of the rainy season. We had an extraordinary night organized by the city of Ayutthaya were everybody had the chance to let their sins float away in a burning buoyant decoration on a floating river.

The final declaration, “The Ayutthaya Announcement” stated that: “Institutions for health professionals’ education, together with communities, health policy makers and providers will have to contribute to the training of health professionals and workers in order to produce appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes in numbers sufficient to achieve equity”.

Participants had a lot of interest in the WONCA-booth at the conference (see picture which shows from L to r; Air Chief Marshal Ouichai Pleangprasit, M.D. Founding Dean, Princess of Naradhiwas University Narathiwat, co-host for the conference, Jan de Maeseneer, with WONCA manager, Nongluck Suwisith and WONCA admin officer, Arisa Puissarakij), illustrating the close cooperation between WONCA and The Network:TUFH.

If you want more information about The Network: Towards Unity for Health or if you are considering becoming a member please visit our website:

It’s all about networking! We can meet at the 2014 Fortaleza Conference in Brazil: November, 19-23, 2014.

Prof Jan de Maeseneer