Universal healthcare considered a 'system worth following' in Thailand

Universal healthcare considered a 'system worth following' in Thailand

THAILAND'S universal health coverage scheme looks set to become a model for other developing nations to follow, it has been revealed.

The revelation came during a meeting between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Public Health Ministry yesterday.

The minutes of the discussion, signed by both parties yesterday, focused on the technical co-operation for the Project on the Partnership for Global Health and Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

"We will work on further details. Information on this part should be available by the coming January," said Prateep Dhanakijcharoen, acting secretary-general of Thailand's National Health Security Office (NHSO).

It manages the universal health coverage scheme, which covers 48 million people.

There were three main objectives from yesterday's meeting: boost the capabilities of Thai medical workers in relation to the implementation of the UHC scheme, empower the medical workers of other Asian developing nations for the same purpose and share information about the scheme.

The collaboration between Thailand and Japan also aims to improve the academic co-operation for the UHC project and use it as a model for UHC schemes in other developing countries.

Toda Takao, director-general of JICA's Human Development Depart-ment, said that Thailand's UHC scheme was known worldwide.

But he said that Thailand needed to improve its implementation and sustainability of the scheme.

He said that Japan could pass on its experiences in managing its social health insurance and health system through medical fees and the central and local governments' financial management of health insurance.

Takao said Thailand faced problems like increasing healthcare costs and issues related to different service coverage and purchasing mechanisms covered by different health schemes, as well as the impact of the ageing population on the health system.

He added that Thailand should give more help to other countries, especially those in the region, to promote their efforts to introduce UHC in partnership with Japan.

Public Health deputy permanent secretary Somsak Akksilp hopes the JICA partnership, and previous projects like the one related to the long-term care of frail, elderly and other vulnerable people, would led to a positive impact on communities in Thailand and neighbouring countries.

He said that the current project also involved the NHSO and other related health agencies.

It will result in Thailand having a sustainable UHC and will promote global health co-operation, he said.

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