Last Updated on 28 Dec 2022

Universal access to comprehensive COVID-19 services for everyone in Thailand.

Abstract

Despite Thailand having had universal health coverage (UHC) with comprehensive benefit packages since 2002, services are neither listed nor budget earmarked for COVID-19 responses. Policy decisions were made immediately after the first outbreak in 2020 to fully fund a comprehensive benefit package for COVID-19. The Cabinet approved significant additional budget to respond to the unfolding pandemic. The comprehensive benefit package includes laboratory tests, contact tracing, active case findings, 14-day quarantine measures (including tests, food and lodging), field hospitals, ambulance services for referral, clinical services both at hospitals and in home and community isolation, vaccines and vaccination cost, all without copayment by users. No-fault compensation for adverse events or deaths following vaccination is also provided. Services were purchased from qualified public and private providers using the same rate, terms and conditions. The benefit package applies to everyone living in Thailand including Thai citizens and migrant workers. A standardised and comprehensive COVID-19 benefit package for Thai and non-Thai population without copayment facilitates universal and equitable access to care irrespective of capacity to pay and social status and nationality, all while aiming to supporting pandemic containment. Making essential services available, notably laboratory tests, through the engagement of qualified both public and private sectors boost supply side capacity. These policies and implementations in this paper are useful lessons for other low-income and middle-income countries on how UHC reinforces pandemic containment.

IHPP Code
ITJ480
Type
International Journal
Year
2022
Journal
BMJ Global Health 2022;7:e009281.
Author
Tangcharoensathien V , Sachdev S , Viriyathorn S , Sriprasert K , Kongkam L , Srichomphu K , Patcharanarumol W
Correspondence
Patcharanarumol W.