Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, this week received the Prince Mahidol Award 2013 in the field of Public Health, from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Health Security Office of Thailand.
In his conference speech, Prof. Piot praised Thailand as the first country to cut down on the number of HIV infections, provide free anti-retroviral drugs, successfully promote the use of condoms and campaign against the stigma associated with HIV.
He urged all countries to focus efforts on HIV prevention among gay men, drug users and marginalised communities that face a high risk of infection, and eliminate the stigma against people living with Aids.
“We need to devote more attention to the protection of men who have sex with men and drug users and continue fighting stigma, especially among the young, which is very important to fight against the epidemic”, he said, and paid tribute to Professor Anne Mills FRS, Vice-Director of the School, who received the Award in 2009.
Dr Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, Prof David D Ho and Dr Anthony Fauci were also honoured for their work in the field of HIV/Aids, at a ceremony in the Grand Palace in Bangkok on 28 January 2014. The Prince Mahidol Award was established by the Government of Thailand in honour of His Royal Highness Prince Mahidol of Songkla, and in 2013, 64 nominations were received from 28 countries.
On 30 January, Prof. Piot and Prof. Mills signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with Dr.Winai Sawasdivorn, Secretary General of the National Health Security Office of Thailand (NHSO). Under this collaboration, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will provide academic support such as research and expert knowledge in order to help the NHSO develop the services it provides to more than 48 million people. Thai health professionals will have access to the School’s training, short courses, distance learning and Master’s courses, cooperation in research and joint publication of study results in international journals.
Thailand’s biggest challenge is to support healthcare infrastructure and providers to manage good-quality care, said Prof. Anne Mills: “It is important in the long term to pursue efforts to equalise health benefits across the population”. The School works closely with other government health agencies and universities throughout Asia and the Pacific region.
- Improving health worldwide: South East Asia – profile publication
- Professor Peter Piot reflects on his career – video
- Peter Piot awarded Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize – June 2013
- News article in The Nation, 28 January and NHSO partnership, 31 January 2014
(Image: Peter Piot receiving the Prince Mahidol Award from H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Thailand. Credit: Heidi Larson/LSHTM)