DPhil student Amalee McCoy reports from Thailand:
The Parenting for Lifelong Health for Young Children Aged 2-9 Years in Thailand (PLH-Thailand) project launch on 4 April 2018 was attended by 46 participants (including ourselves) from a variety of government and non-government agencies and organizations, including the Ministry of Public Health; Udon Thani Provincial Public Health Office; directors, doctors, psychologists, and nurses from 6 hospitals; the director and senior nurse from the local nursing college; education officials; government Child Development Centre (CDC) teachers; municipal and sub-district level government officials; children's shelter workers; a local university early childhood professor; a local primary school teacher; UNICEF; and Save the Children. Dr. Chanvit Tharathep, Inspector General for Region 8 of the Bureau of Inspection, MoPH, was the most senior central government official at the meeting, while Dr. Smit Prasunnakarn, Chief Medical Officer for the Udon Thani Provincial Public Health Office, was the most senior local government official.
During the meeting, the local Co-Principal Investigator, Dr. Sombat Tapanya, provided an overview on violence against children by parents and primary caregivers in Thailand, followed by a presentation by Prof. Frances Gardner on evidence-based parenting research and core principles for best practice. Dr. Jamie Lachman and myself provided a detailed overview of the Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) partnership and plans for the PLH-Thailand project and programme, which was followed by group work and open discussion with stakeholders on project plans and how the work by different partners could be complementary. The meeting was followed by the 1st Parenting Experts Working Group Meeting on 5 April, during which several Thai parenting experts shared their views on potential pathways for cultural and contextual adaptation of the PLH 2-9 programme.
The meeting provided an opportunity to mark the start of the new 21 month project funded by UNICEF Thailand, which began on 1 March. The project aims to adapt, pilot, and test the PLH 2-9 prototype parenting intervention for low-income families in Thailand. In order to determine the cultural appropriateness, feasibility, and effectiveness of PLH 2-9 in reducing the risk of VAC in the Thai context, the research project will be implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health. Thailand is the second country in Asia and the first country in the Greater Mekong Sub-region that will be piloting and testing a PLH programme.
PLH is an international collaboration between individuals from UNICEF, WHO, University of Oxford, University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, Bangor University, and University of Reading, bringing together academic and development professionals with expertise in the design and evaluation of parenting interventions in low- and middle-income countries. PLH focuses on the development and evaluation of the PLH for Young Children parenting programme to prevent violence against children (physical violence, emotional violence and child neglect) during early childhood, to strengthen positive parenting, and to reduce parental stress while improving social support.