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Thailand’s Good Care for Older Persons to Be Used as a Model in ASEAN

February 1, 2014 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

Japan has expressed admiration for the ways that Thailand helps provide good care for the older population. It has the idea of spreading the system of caring for senior citizens in Thailand to other countries in ASEAN.

Deputy Permanent Secretary for Public Health Chanvit Tharathep said that the Ministry of Public Health and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are conducting jointly a project to develop health services on a long-term basis for older persons who have health problems and cannot help themselves.

This group of older persons accounts for about 1 percent of the country’s population. The project, scheduled for 2013 to 2017, covers six prototype provinces, namely Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Surat Thani, Nonthaburi, and Khon Kaen. It aims to provide treatment for sick older persons, improve the functioning of their organs, prevent their illnesses from worsening, offer advice on caring for them, and boost the morale of their families.

The five-year project is being carried out in cooperation with other relevant government agencies, such as the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and the Ministry of Interior. Health services to sick older persons under this project are offered in several forms, such as day-care service, rehabilitation at home, traditional Thai massage, food preparation, physical exercise, and the arrangement of volunteers to work with local officials in taking care of them.

It is expected that the project will greatly reduce expenditures for senior citizen care in hospitals. There are currently 9.5 million older persons in Thailand. The number represents 15 percent of Thailand’s population. About 50 percent of them suffer from chronic health problems.

According to Dr. Chanvit, before starting this project, Japan had undertaken a study on health management for older adults in four provinces in Thailand, namely Chiang Rai, Surat Thani, Nonthaburi, and Khon Kaen. The study shows that Thailand has been on the right track in its approach to caring for senior citizens, so that they can live happily in the family and the community.

Dr. Chanvit in November 2013 represented Thailand at the ASEAN-Japan Seminar on Regional Cooperation for the Aging Society, held at the ASEAN Secretariat in Indonesia. ASEAN has been experiencing the acceleration of demographic ageing, especially in Indonesia and Thailand.

The Ministry of Public Health of Thailand has a policy to promote health among the people of all age groups under the program “Good health starts here.” In order to promote good health among the elderly, Thailand has encouraged the establishment of more clubs, or centers, where the elderly can join social activities and events in local communities. This will help promote physical and mental health among senior citizens.

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