A TECHNO-ECONOMIC NEWS MAGAZINE FOR MEDICAL PLASTICS AND PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY
Our 10th Year of Publication
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Cover Story

Thailand : A Health Check

The Thai economic growth is set to regain momentum and now has a more stable footing after five years of post-crisis economic adjustments. Analysts have projected the economy to grow by an average of 3.1% over the next 5 years. Thailand is also making strides in its efforts to attain world-class standards in healthcare. There are plans to increase the number of health centers as well as infrastructural upgrading of existing health facilities around the country.

Today, Thailand itself has more than 1,000 private and government hospitals. These healthcare providers and those employed in the medical profession are in constant look out for better medical and health technologies, medical equipment and devices, pharmaceutical, healthcare and wellness management amongst others.

A HEALTH CHECKThiland Country Map

Over the past three decades, the health status of the Thai people have improved considerably and rapidly. Thailand’s health system has done extremely well at facing the many challenges that affects the health of its population. The infant mortality rate has reduced drastically and the life expectancy has risen to the levels of many developed countries. Life expectancy at birth has increased from 55.9 to 69.97 years for males and 62.0 to 74.99 years for females. By 2020, this will increase to approximately 72 years for males and 76 years for females. The elderly population is also expected to reach 10.78 million by then and this will represent approximately 15 per cent of the population. The overall health services have also shifted to a more integrated approach adopting preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitation services.

Healthcare in Thailand is provided by both the public and private sectors. The current healthcare system reflects the entrepreneurial market-driven nature of the economy where private providers and insurers adopt a Laissez-faire policy whilst the public sector will take care of healthcare financing of some sectors of the population. Besides being the major provider for public health services, the Ministry of Public Health plays a major role as policy-maker, setting up standards, monitoring standards compliance and providing technical support to all public and private health facilities. The government is also an advocator of health promotion and has introduced this as a strategic process to improve the well being of the population in terms of disease prevention and living a healthy lifestyle.

NEW HEALTH PATTERNS…

Health patterns are often associated with demographic, social and economic conditions. As the country progresses and with industrialisation and urbanisation, Thailand is now faced with

Experiencing demographic and epidemiological transitions, moving away from the burden of communicable diseases of the past to chronic diseases of the aging population. New diseases often associated with developed economies such as cardiovascular ailments, hypertension and cerebrovascular disease, malignant neoplasm, cancer, diabetes, pneumonia, lung ailments, etc. Environmental health hazards . An aging population. All this will have longer term consequences for the labour force growth and the need for long term healthcare.

THE NEED FOR BETTER HEALTHCARE….

Thailand is making strides in its efforts to Reform the health management systems making it more effective and efficient. Make healthcare affordable to the people. Attain world class standards in its healthcare facilities curb occupational diseases develop effective technologies and innovations for disease prevention and control of both emerging and re-emerging communicable and non-communicable diseases including AIDS, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and mental health problems. Educate the public on living healthier lifestyles by conducting intensive health promotion campaigns in collaboration with the private sectors accelerate the universal coverage of health insurance particularly for the poor and underprivileged to cover all health services ranging from curative car to medical rehabilitation.

There are plans to increase the number of health centres, infrastructural upgrading of existing health facilities in the country and to make healthcare available close to where the people are living. The changes in demographics in terms of decline in fertility, longer life expectancy and the aging population have resulted in an enormous need for better healthcare. With more than 1,000 private and government hospitals in Thailand, these healthcare providers and those employed in the medical profession are constantly looking for:

  • Better medical and health teachnologies, medical equipment and devices

  • New and affordable diagnostics, drugs, vaccines, etc.

  • Improvements in efficient healthcare systems and public health programs and better utilization of surveillance data and health information

  • Ways to reduce health inequalities within the country.

With the improvements in the economy, imports of medical devices are expected to increase. In 2000 and 2001, the market growth rate was estimated to be about 12 per cent and this was derived mainly from private hospitals and is expected to improve further. The pharmaceutical market, both ethical and over the counter, was estimated to be about USS 594 million in 1999 and this is also foreseeable to increase with the more than positive growth forecast of the Thai economy as projected for in the next few years.

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