Over the past decade, there has been rapid economic growth and improved human development in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS). Nevertheless, there are still concerns over limited achievement in health, particularly among disadvantaged populations. Increasing migration, demographic transformation, climate change, and technological development pose additional challenges to progress and require public health education to remain relevant and effective. To respond to these problems and ongoing challenges, the Deans and the Rector of the 14 public health academic institutions of the countries in the GMS met on Friday 14th September 2012 in the city of Kunming in Yunnan Province, People Republic of China, and agreed to establish the Greater Mekong Sub-region Public Health Academic Network. This GMS Public Health Academic Network aims for a shared vision of achieving the highest possible level of health among our people in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. The Network’s member institutions will work together to enhance regional capacity for addressing major public health challenges through the delivery of education, research, and policy advocacy for health equity in the region.
The 1st GMS countries’ Public Health Conference on “Primary Health Care in Globalization” was held in Khon Kaen University, Thailand on 20-21 August 2009. From this conference onwards, the leaders from network of the faculties of Public Health in the GMS countries agreed to organize the conference yearly and each University should take turn in holding the periodic conference.
The 2nd international conference on Public Health among Greater Mekong Sub-Regional countries was hosted by the Faculty of Public Health, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Hue, Vietnam on August 30-31, 2010, with the theme on “Challenges and Opportunities for Collaboration of Public Health Training and Research in Globalization”
The 3rd international conference on Public Health among Greater Mekong Sub-Regional countries was hosted by the Faculty of Postgraduate Studies, University of Health Sciences, Ministry of Health, Vientiane, Laos PDR, on 9-10th August, 2011, with a theme entitled “Global Preventive Public Health Challenges among Greater Mekong-Sub Region”.
The 4th international Conference on Public Health among Greater Mekong Sub-Regional Countries was held in Kunming, China from 15-16 September, 2012, with the main theme entitled “Emerging Public Health Issues among the Greater Mekong-Sub Region: Challenges and Opportunities for Global Collaboration”. This conference provided a significant opportunity for all partners who work on the health related fields to share and discuss on their ideas, experience, and lessons on health improvement and development within the region.
The 5th international Conference on Public Health among Greater Mekong Sub-regional Countries (5th ICPH-GMS) for 2013, was hosted by the University of Public Health, Yangon, Myanmar, from 28th to 29th September 2013, with a main theme entitled “Evidence-based Health Policy: Current Status and Future Prospects”.
The 6th ICPH was hosted by the Faculty of Public Health, Khon Kaen University, Thailand, from 6th to 7th November, 2014, with the main theme entitled “Health Service System in a Borderless Community: Human Resource Development for a District Health System”.
The 7th ICPH was hosted by the Faculty of Public Health, Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Vietnam, from 26th to 27th September, 2015, with the main theme entitled “International Collaboration for Evidence-based Policy Making in Public Health”.
The 8th ICPH was hosted by the School of Public Health, National Institute of Public Health, Cambodia, from 5th to 6th November, 2016, with the main theme entitled “Moving Towards Universal Health Coverage: Strengthening Quality of Care”.
The 9th ICPH will be hosted by the University of Public Health, Myanmar from 22-23 November, 2017 with the main theme entitled “Adopting healthy lifestyle; Combating NCDs” .