GAP breakthrough in Thailand

Government to buy treatment products for hemophilia patients.

The government of Thailand has committed for the first time to buy large amounts of factor concentrate for hemophilia patients.

Purchase of treatment products will start in 2006 through a government tendering process, but amounts and distribution guidelines are still being developed.

“We applaud the government’s decision,” says WFH President, Mark Skinner. “The commitment to buy treatment products will make a real difference to the lives of people with hemophilia.

“The move represents another significant step forward in treatment and care since 2003, when Thailand joined the WFH’s Global Alliance for Progress (GAP) in hemophilia program.”

The program is based on a partnership involving the WFH and Thailand’s National Hemophilia Foundation, in cooperation with the National Health Security Office, the country’s Ministry of Health, and the International Hemophilia Training Center at Ramathibodi Hospital.

“There has been very good progress,” says Professor Parttraporn Isarangkura, President of the National Hemophilia Foundation of Thailand. “GAP is helping to improve the health and quality of life for people with hemophilia, while reducing joint damage and blood transmitted complications,” she says. “The program’s success is the result of wholehearted cooperation from many organizations and key persons.”

The Foundation had argued that prevention of blood infections would save the government more money in the long term, while improved quality of health would enable more people with hemophilia to be productive citizens.

As well as government support for hemophilia treatment, a primary GAP aim is to establish a national hemophilia health care program. Through a unique organizational model using a national GAP Committee and a network of seven subcommittees, GAP progress so far has been impressive.

Each subcommittee focuses on a specific area including care delivery, medical expertise, national registry, laboratory diagnosis, government purchased treatment products, patient organization, and product donations.

“These subcommittees provide important background knowledge and information for the national hemophilia healthcare program,” says Dr.Thip Sriphaisal, chair of Thailand’s GAP Committee.

At least 1,340 new patients have been identified since GAP started, medical and laboratory training workshops have been organized in major centres, and national treatment guidelines are being developed.

A laboratory manual, clinical guidelines, patient newsletters, and other information materials are being produced in addition to a range of educational activities

“The Thai government sees GAP as potential role model for dealing with other high-cost chronic ailments.” says Dr Triroj Krutvecho, Secretary General of the Thai GAP Committee.

“Developing countries in the region also see the program as a useful model that can be adapted to their individual needs for hemophilia management.

“GAP is significant because it works on a national basis and involves patient activity. The program encourages patients to cooperate as a group. They share ideas on how to look after themselves, improve their quality of life and reduce the need for treatment products.”

“The important issue is the early treatment of every registered patient,” says Dr. Ampaiwan Chuansamrit, Director of the International Hemophilia Training Centre in Bangkok’s Ramathibodi Hospital.”

Hemophilia World, January 2006