Inaugural scholarship allows Thai delegate to benefit from Road Safety Management Leadership Program

Tum TangthanasethRoad safety leaders from Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) were given a special opportunity to attend the Road Safety Management Leadership Program last month.

The Program, offered since 2012 by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC), has earnt global acclaim for its ability to bolster the expertise and leadership skills of those tasked with eliminating road trauma.

For the first time, the Program offered a full scholarship to a delegate from a LMIC. The inaugural award was made to Ms Tum Tangthanaseth, National Professional Officer at the World Health Organization (WHO) Thailand Office.

“This is very helpful, especially for the Lower and Middle Income Countries where budgets for learning might be scarce or limited,” Tangthanaseth said during the Program.

“I feel like I’ve learnt some things that are really relevant to my role and I can apply immediately, as well as to encourage my colleagues in Thailand. I want to share the knowledge with them.”

According to the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018, road trauma is “disproportionately high among low- and middle-income countries in relation to the size of their populations and the number of motor vehicles in circulation.”

Tangthanaseth said Thailand was an example of a LMIC that requires significant improvements to road safety.

“Thailand has been successful in many public health areas, but we still have a long way to go in terms of road safety,” she said.

“The safe system approach is one of the key areas that this Leadership Program is highlighting and it’s a fundamental basis for improving road safety efforts in the country. This is the key principle that I’d like to emphasise to Thailand.”

In addition to its in-depth focus on safe systems, the Program also focuses on how to promote positive change within organisations and with stakeholders.

“At the individual level, I’ve learnt about adaptive leadership,” Tangthanaseth said.

“It’s an environment where you have a very supportive group who also contribute their own ideas to help improve my leadership skills.”

The group featured participants from a range of agencies and countries, providing a diversity of perspectives. In addition to Tangthanaseth, last month’s Program attracted participants from South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, as well as a host of Australian organisations.

Having returned to Thailand feeling optimistic about championing road safety in Thailand, Tangthanaseth now hopes there will be further chances for professionals from LMICs to benefit from the Program.

“Leadership is required in every aspect of every agency that is involved in road safety. We need to build the capacity of their leaders,” she said.