Thailand healthcare service represents one of the most crucial ones in South East Asia’s region. There are several published studies on the medical approach in Thailand. The majority of key points in those research papers have been associated with respect to its healthcare system, regimens supply, selection, use, regulation, and healthcare policy.
The historical perspective of the healthcare system in Thailand accentuates the social determinants of health, particularly in 1997 when the constitution was adopted as the legal framework for the advancement of health care measures provided by Universal Health Coverage. The main principle was the need for adequate access to healthcare services as one of the basic rights of the Thailand population.
According to the UHC policy, the public sector in Thailand aims to enable such access to its population whilst protecting them from unnecessary health expenditures. The emphasis is on ensuring the access to healthcare service to all individuals.
Nowadays, Thailand belongs to an upper-middle-income country and according to 2013 total population in Thailand accounts for approximately 64,623.000 individuals.
Thailand is known to have relatively low number of healthcare professionals as compared with other countries of similar economic status (Kanchanachitr et al). There is also data in regards to the annual production of graduated doctors and nurses – 2.500 doctors per year and 9.000 nurses.
According to Thailand data, in the period of 2009-2011, the monthly income of healthcare professional increased by 6-10% per annum, while various specialized hospitals had a declined rate of expense on the necessary medical supplies.
Medical Thailand ministries
The healthcare delivery system in Thailand is mainly focused on the health benefits of the patient. Its main attribute is to improve the well-being of the patient itself. The aforementioned public system means that the majority of inhabitants are covered by insurance for their health services as well as medicines. It has been noted that over 90% of drugs are available in public healthcare institutions.
The main healthcare body in Thailand is The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and other legal actors such as governor, local authorities, Tumbon health fund and Public-Private Partnership (PPP). The additional institutions of major importance are Health System Research Institute (HSRI), National Health Security Office (NHSO), Thai Health Promotion Foundation, National Health Commission (NHCO), Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand (EMIT) and Health Accreditation Institute (HAI).
The current population health challenges are mostly due to non-communicable disease, antimicrobial resistance, and road traffic accidents. The major burden of morbidity and mortality in Thailand population is due to infectious diseases.
Thailand continues to successfully implement the Expanded Programs on Immunization (EPI) and is strongly committed to eradicate polio by 2018 and eliminate measles by 2020.
Hospitals in Thailand
Hospitals in Thailand are focused to provide their services as a multi-level system to ensure adequate geographical equity while maintaining its efficacious functioning.
At the regional level, there are 6 medical school hospitals, 33 regional hospitals and 48 specialized, whilst at the provincial level, there are 83 general hospitals in Thailand (2010), respectively.
The main role of Government Pharmaceutical organization (GPO) is to ensure an appropriate drug supply as well as to maintain the price level of the most abundant pharmaceutical supplies in Thailand healthcare system.
Medical Tourism in Thailand
Within the healthcare tourism, Thailand receives millions of foreign patients per year particularly in the field of cardiology, oncology, ophthalmology and spinal surgery causing growth in government funding, private participation, medical tourism, and an increased income levels.
In the case of foreign individuals requiring medical examination or procedures, there are several insurance scenarios. The intentional medical travel procedures coverage is reserved for travelling for the explicit purpose of doing a procedure overseas. The accidental medical travel coverage means if an individual is on travel, there is an accident and primary healthcare coverage. The complication insurance is in case of a complication resulting from a procedure.
Future medical perspectives
There is an ongoing Thailand’s Country Cooperation Strategy 2017-2021 (CCS) in the association between WHO, the Royal Thai Government and 75 governmental and nongovernmental organizations for the ongoing progress in the healthcare industry. Its aim is to improve the healthcare system, migrant health, implement national health policies, strategies, and plans.
The main issues for future health sector reforms are to maintain balance of revenue and expenditure, to gain additional revenues as well as long-term financial sustainability. The main advantage of the Asian region is the importance of the investment of foreign healthcare and pharmaceutical industries in the Thailand medical sector.
Bureau of Policy and Strategy, Ministry of public health
Thailand data, http://data.worldbank.org/country/thailand
Tham TY et al. Integrated health care systems in Asia: an urgent necessity. Clin Interv Aging. 2018 Dec 14;13:2527-2538. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S185048. eCollection 2018.