International Health Policy Program

Mueang Nonthaburi, Thailand

International Health Policy Program

Mueang Nonthaburi, Thailand

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Tangcharoensathien V.,International Health Policy Program | Patcharanarumol W.,International Health Policy Program | Aljunid S.M.,University of Kuala Lumpur | Mukti A.G.,Gadjah Mada University | And 5 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2011

In this sixth paper of the Series, we review health-financing reforms in seven countries in southeast Asia that have sought to reduce dependence on out-of-pocket payments, increase pooled health finance, and expand service use as steps towards universal coverage. Laos and Cambodia, both resource-poor countries, have mostly relied on donor-supported health equity funds to reach the poor, and reliable funding and appropriate identification of the eligible poor are two major challenges for nationwide expansion. For Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam, social health insurance financed by payroll tax is commonly used for formal sector employees (excluding Malaysia), with varying outcomes in terms of financial protection. Alternative payment methods have different implications for provider behaviour and financial protection. Two alternative approaches for financial protection of the non-poor outside the formal sector have emerged - contributory arrangements and tax-financed schemes - with different abilities to achieve high population coverage rapidly. Fiscal space and mobilisation of payroll contributions are both important in accelerating financial protection. Expanding coverage of good-quality services and ensuring adequate human resources are also important to achieve universal coverage. As health-financing reform is complex, institutional capacity to generate evidence and inform policy is essential and should be strengthened. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Garg C.C.,Global health | Dmytraczenko T.,The World Bank | Izazola-Licea J.-A.,National Center for Prevention and Control of Mexicos Federal Ministry of Health | Tangcharoensathien V.,International Health Policy Program
Health Affairs | Year: 2012

Donor nations and philanthropic organizations increasingly require that funds provided for a specific health priority such as HIV should supplement domestic spending on that priority-a concept known as "additionality." We investigated the "additionality" concept using data from Honduras, Rwanda, and Thailand, and we found that the three countries increased funding for HIV in response to increased donor funding. In contrast, the study revealed that donors, faced with increased Global Fund resources for HIV in certain countries, tended to decrease their funding for HIV or shift funds for use in non-HIV health areas. More broadly, we found many problems in the measurement and interpretation of additionality. These findings suggest that it would be preferable for donors and countries to agree on how best to use available domestic and external funds to improve population health, and to develop better means of tracking outcomes, than to try to develop more sophisticated methods to track additionality. © 2012 Project HOPE-The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.


Arifwidodo S.,Kasetsart University | Chandrasiri O.,International Health Policy Program
Energy Procedia | Year: 2015

This study focuses on the urban heat island (UHI) development and its impact on household energy consumption. Hourly air temperature data were used to study the characteristics and intensities of UHI in Bangkok area. A survey questionnaire of 400 randomly selected respondents is conducted to explain the relationship between UHI intensity and household energy consumption. Cooling Degree Days (CDD) index was used to establish the correlation between UHI and energy consumption. The result indicates that the presence of UHI in Bangkok plays a significant role in residential energy use, directly and indirectly. UHI is found to have association with the air conditioning equipment in Bangkok and increase the monthly electricity bill. Energy consumption is found to have positive association with CDD, which implies that UHI have significant influence on the household energy consumption. The study concludes that combining the concept of UHI mitigation and adaptation planning and energy-efficient housing design will contribute to better solutions for creating a more energy-efficient city. © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Moodie R.,University of Melbourne | Stuckler D.,University of Cambridge | Monteiro C.,University of Sao Paulo | Sheron N.,University of Southampton | And 4 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2013

The 2011 UN high-level meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) called for multisectoral action including with the private sector and industry. However, through the sale and promotion of tobacco, alcohol, and ultra-processed food and drink (unhealthy commodities), transnational corporations are major drivers of global epidemics of NCDs. What role then should these industries have in NCD prevention and control? We emphasise the rise in sales of these unhealthy commodities in low-income and middle-income countries, and consider the common strategies that the transnational corporations use to undermine NCD prevention and control. We assess the effectiveness of selfregulation, public-private partnerships, and public regulation models of interaction with these industries and conclude that unhealthy commodity industries should have no role in the formation of national or international NCD policy. Despite the common reliance on industry self-regulation and public-private partnerships, there is no evidence of their effectiveness or safety. Public regulation and market intervention are the only evidence-based mechanisms to prevent harm caused by the unhealthy commodity industries.


Kongsri S.,Mahasarakham University | Limwattananon S.,Khon Kaen University | Sirilak S.,Director | Prakongsai P.,International Health Policy Program | Tangcharoensathien V.,International Health Policy Program
Reproductive Health Matters | Year: 2011

This study assessed trends in equity of access to reproductive health services and service utilization in terms of coverage of family planning, antenatal care and skilled birth attendance in Thailand. Two health indicators were measured: the prevalence of low birthweight and exclusive breastfeeding. Equity was measured against the combined urban-rural areas and geographic regions, women's education level and quintiles of household assets index. The study used data from two nationally representative household surveys, the 2006 and 2009 Reproductive Health Surveys. Very high coverage of family planning (79.6%), universal antenatal care (98.9%) and skilled birth attendance (99.7%), with very small socioeconomic and geographic disparities, were observed. The public sector played a dominant role in maternity care (90.9% of all deliveries in 2009). The private sector also had a role among the higher educated, wealthier women living in urban areas. Public sector facilities, followed by drug stores, were a major supplier of contraception, which had a high use rate. High coverage and low inequity were the result of extensive investment in the health system by successive governments, in particular primary health care at district and sub-district levels, reaching universality by 2002. While maintaining these achievements, methodological improvements in measuring low birthweight and exclusive breastfeeding for future reproductive health surveys are recommended. © 2011 Reproductive Health Matters.


Noree T.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Noree T.,International Health Policy Program | Hanefeld J.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Smith R.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Globalization and Health | Year: 2014

Background: Travel for medical treatment is an aspect of globalization and health that is comparatively less understood. Little is known about volume, characteristic and motivation of medical tourists, limiting understanding of effects on health systems and patients. Thailand is amongst a handful of countries that have positioned themselves as medical tourism destination. This paper examines in unprecedented detail volume and characteristics of medical tourists who travel from the UK to Thailand for treatment.Methods: As part of a wider medical tourism study, authors gained access to over 4000 patient records from the five largest private hospitals in Thailand. These included information on country of origin, gender, age, arrival month, hospitalization, diagnosis, procedures, length of stay, medical expenditure and type of payment. Patient records were analysed to understand who travels and findings were triangulated with data from the UK International Passenger Survey (IPS).Results: 104,830 medical tourists visited these hospitals in Thailand in 2010. While patients originate all over the world, UK medical tourists represent the largest group amongst Europeans. The majority UK medical tourists (60%) have comparatively small, elective procedures, costing less than USD 500. A significant minority of patients travel for more serious orthopedic and cardiothoracic procedures. Data of individual patient records from Thailand shows a higher number of UK patients traveled to Thailand than indicated by the IPS.Conclusions: Thailand is attracting a large number of medical tourists including larger numbers of UK patients than previously estimated. However, as many patients travel for comparatively minor procedures treatment may not be their primary motivation for travel. The small but significant proportion of older UK residents traveling for complex procedures may point to challenges within the NHS. © 2014 Noree et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Suphanchaimat R.,International Health Policy Program | Wisaijohn T.,International Health Policy Program | Thammathacharee N.,Health Insurance Systems Research Office | Tangcharoensathien V.,International Health Policy Program
Human Resources for Health | Year: 2013

Background: This study forecasts physician supply between 2012 and 2030 using cohort analysis, based on future production capacity and losses from the profession, and assesses if, and by when, the projected numbers of physicians would meet the targets of one doctor per 1,500 population, as proposed by the 7th National Conference on Medical Education in 2001, and one per 1,800, proposed by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in 2004.Methods: We estimated the annual loss rate that best reflected the dynamics of existing practising doctors, then applied this rate to the existing physicians, plus the newly licensed physicians flowing into the pool over the next two decades (from 2012 to 2030). Finally, the remaining practising physicians, after adjustment for losses, were verified against demand projections in order to identify supply gaps.Results: Thailand has been experiencing an expansion in the total number of physicians, with an annual loss rate of 1%. Considering future plans for admission of medical students, the number of licensed physicians flowing into the pool should reach 2,592 per annum, and 2,661 per annum, by 2019 and 2030 respectively. By applying the 1% loss rate to the existing, and future newly licensed, physicians, there are forecast to be around 40,000 physicians in active clinical service by 2016, and in excess of 60,000 by 2028.Conclusion: This supply forecast, given various assumptions, would meet the targets outlined above, of one doctor per 1,800 population, and one per 1,500 population, by 2016 and 2020 respectively. However, rapid changes in the contextual environment, e.g. economic demand, physician demographics, and disease burden, may mean that the annual loss rate of 1% used in this projection is not accurate in the future. To ensure population health needs are met, parallel policies on physician production encompassing both qualitative and quantitative aspects should be in place. Improved, up-to-date information and establishment of a physician cohort study are recommended. © 2013 Suphanchaimat et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Limwattananon S.,Khon Kaen University | Tangcharoensathien V.,International Health Policy Program | Sirilak S.,Ministry of Public Health
Reproductive Health Matters | Year: 2011

In low-income countries, the coverage of institutional births is low. Using data from the two most recent Demographic and Health Surveys (1995-2001 and 2001-2006) for 25 low-income countries, this study examined trends in where women delivered their babies - public or private facilities or non-institutional settings. More than half of deliveries were in institutional settings in ten countries, mostly public facilities. In the other 15 countries, the majority of births were in women's homes, which was often their only option. Between the two survey periods, all five Asian countries studied (except Bangladesh) had an increase of 10-20 percentage points in institutional coverage, whereas none of the 19 sub-Saharan African countries saw an increase of more than 10 percentage points. More urban women and more in the richest (least poor) quintile gave birth in public or private facilities than rural and poorest quintile women. The rich-poor gap of institutional births was wider than the urban-rural gap. Inadequate public investment in health system infrastructure in rural areas and lack of skilled health professionals are major obstacles in reducing maternal mortality. Governments in low-income countries must invest more, especially in rural maternity services. Strengthening private, for-profit providers is not a policy choice for poor, rural communities. © 2011 Reproductive Health Matters.


Tangcharoensathien V.,International Health Policy Program
Health research policy and systems / BioMed Central | Year: 2013

Empirical evidence demonstrates that the Thai Universal Coverage Scheme (UCS) has improved equity of health financing and provided a relatively high level of financial risk protection. Several UCS design features contribute to these outcomes: a tax-financed scheme, a comprehensive benefit package and gradual extension of coverage to illnesses that can lead to catastrophic household costs, and capacity of the National Health Security Office (NHSO) to mobilise adequate resources. This study assesses the policy processes related to making decisions on these features. The study employs qualitative methods including reviews of relevant documents, in-depth interviews of 25 key informants, and triangulation amongst information sources. Continued political and financial commitments to the UCS, despite political rivalry, played a key role. The Thai Rak Thai (TRT)-led coalition government introduced UCS; staying in power 8 of the 11 years between 2001 and 2011 was long enough to nurture and strengthen the UCS and overcome resistance from various opponents. Prime Minister Surayud's government, replacing the ousted TRT government, introduced universal renal replacement therapy, which deepened financial risk protection.Commitment to their manifesto and fiscal capacity pushed the TRT to adopt a general tax-financed universal scheme; collecting premiums from people engaged in the informal sector was neither politically palatable nor technically feasible. The relatively stable tenure of NHSO Secretary Generals and the chairs of the Financing and the Benefit Package subcommittees provided a platform for continued deepening of financial risk protection. NHSO exerted monopsonistic purchasing power to control prices, resulting in greater patient access and better systems efficiency than might have been the case with a different design.The approach of proposing an annual per capita budget changed the conventional line-item programme budgeting system by basing negotiations between the Bureau of Budget, the NHSO and other stakeholders on evidence of service utilization and unit costs. Future success of Thai UCS requires coverage of effective interventions that address primary and secondary prevention of non-communicable diseases and long-term care policies in view of epidemiologic and demographic transitions. Lessons for other countries include the importance of continued political support, evidence informed decisions, and a capable purchaser organization.


Limwattananon S.,Khon Kaen University | Tangcharoensathien V.,International Health Policy Program | Prakongsai P.,International Health Policy Program
Bulletin of the World Health Organization | Year: 2010

Objective To assess equity in health outcomes and interventions for maternal and child health (MCH) services in Thailand. Methods Women of reproductive age in 40 000 nationally representative households responded to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey in 2005-2006. We used a concentration index (CI) to assess distribution of nine MCH indicator groups across the household wealth index. For each indicator we also compared the richest and poorest quintiles or deciles, urban and rural domiciles, and mothers or caregivers with or without secondary school education. Findings Child underweight (CI: -0.2192; P < 0.01) and stunting (CI: -0.1767; P < 0.01) were least equitably distributed, being disproportionately concentrated among the poor; these were followed by teenage pregnancy (CI: -0.1073; P < 0.01), and child pneumonia (CI: -0.0896; P < 0.05) and diarrhoea (CI: -0.0531; P < 0.1). Distribution of the MCH interventions was fairly equitable, but richer women were more likely to receive prenatal care and delivery by a skilled health worker or in a health facility. The most equitably distributed interventions were child immunization and family planning. All undesirable health outcomes were more prevalent among rural residents, although the urban-rural gap in MCH services was small. Where mothers or caregivers had no formal education, all outcome indicators were worse than in the group with the highest level of education. Conclusion Equity of coverage in key MCH services is high throughout Thailand. Inequitable health outcomes are largely due to socioeconomic factors, especially differences in the educational level of mothers or caregivers.

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