Thai Health Minister Mongkol Appointed UNAIDS Board Chair
Thailand's Public Health Minister Mongkol Na Songkhla has been appointed chair of UNAIDS' Program Coordinating Board and is expected to start the position next month, Xinhua/People's Daily reports (Xinhua/People's Daily, 5/21). Mongkol said that during his term he plans to promote safer-sex practices and condom use worldwide, the Bangkok Post reports. He attributed the spread of HIV to unsafe sex, noting that 20% of people in high-risk groups, including commercial sex workers, use condoms (Bangkok Post, 5/21). UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot appointed Mongkol to succeed Sweden's Minister for International Development Cooperation Carin Jamtin. According to Xinhua/People's Daily, Mongkol said he accepted the appointment because Piot has supported Thailand's decision to issue compulsory licenses for several medications, including antiretroviral drugs (Xinhua/People's Daily, 5/21). Mongkol will chair his first board meeting on June 25 and will remain in the position for one year, the Post reports (Bangkok Post, 5/21). The board is made up of 37 members -- 22 from member countries, 10 from United Nations agencies and five from social organizations. The board holds two meetings annually (Xinhua/People's Daily, 5/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.