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Master Plan 2010-2012 _5,8-15_

Master Plan 2010-2012 _5,8-15_

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Published by Nattapol Kengkuntod

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Published by: Nattapol Kengkuntod on Nov 19, 2010
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05/12/2014

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ThaiHealth Master Plan 20102012
5
The contexts that affect the health of Thai people
The health of Thai people depends on various factors including economic, social and
environmental changes. Many factors can be called “social determinants of health” (SDH).
Some factors emerge for a certain period and other factors are deeprooted in social
structures, cultures and lifestyles. The factors are as follows.
Health when the cost of living is high
An economic crisis increased layoffs. Surveys found 420,000 unemployed people in
2007. Their number rose by 22% to 510,000 in 2008.1 Ninety percent of unemployed people
created tension to themselves, 70% of them caused tension to their families, 18% of them
considered suicide, and 36% of them could not afford their medical treatment.2
Emerging diseases, the catastrophe that should not be overlooked
Emerging diseases like the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the avian
influenza, the 2009 H1N1 influenza and such a reemerging disease as plague are the threats
that have tremendous impacts on economies, societies and health. The 2009 H1N1
influenza took only four months from April to July 2009 to expand to all provinces and
occupied 75% of every district. According to information as of August 19, 2009, from the
Bureau of Epidemiology of the Department of Disease Control, the influenza infected over
500,000 people and killed 11 people, and the number of patients was growing. Academics
expect more than one epidemic of the disease which may stall economic growth.
Eating behaviors, subtle sources of diseases
Eating behaviors are everyone’s immediate risks which are clearly proved by the
growth of chronic diseases. Within only five years, the number of inpatients who suffer from
diabetes and cardiovascular diseases doubles.3 One cause is the excessive consumption of
1 A survey on the work of the population in the fourth quarter of 20062008 by the National Statistical Office
of Thailand in the report on Thailand’s social condition in the fourth quarter of 2008 by the Office of the
National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB)
2 A survey on impacts on and the adjustment of Thai workers during the global economic crisis by the NESDB
in the report on Thailand’s social condition in the fourth quarter of 2008 by the Office of the National
Economic and Social Development Board
3 The 3rd survey on the health of Thai people through checkups in 2003 and 2004 in the Thai Public Health
Report 20052007
sugar. Sugar consumption among Thai people doubled in only six years. In 2006, the average
sugar consumption was 33.2 kilograms per person. In 2004, 86% of people aged six and over
had high fat foods and only 20% of people aged 15 and over ate enough fruits.
Endless smoking, drinking and addiction
Campaigns and the adjustment of social rules have been continuing and solving the
problems in many aspects. However, smoking, drinking and addiction remain heavy in some
groups of people. Smoking between 1991 and 2007 dropped in all age groups4 except in
2007 when smoking among youths aged 1524 increased slightly from that in 2006.5 New
smokers are the risk group that deserves careful supervision. Statistics show that financially
healthy people have a lower rate of smoking and a higher rate of smoking reduction.
Regarding the consumption of alcoholic drinks from 1989 to 2003, the consumption
by Thai people rose by as many as three times to 3,691 liters in 2003.6 The National
Statistical Office of Thailand found that the percentage of regular drinkers rose from 18.5%
in 2006 to 20.2% in 2007. Men drink more than women do. Of people aged 15 and over,
14.3 million or 29.3% drank alcohol in 2007, decreasing from 15.9 million or 31.1% in 2006.
Narcotic problems are growing again as the number of narcotic cases is increasing.
The Office of the Narcotics Control Board reported over 130,000 narcotic arrests in 2008
and the Royal Thai Police Office reported as many as 200,000 narcotic arrests.7 Another
concern comes from unsafe sexual behaviors, especially those of homosexual men that
transmit HIV. In 2010, the percentage of HIVinfected homosexual men is expected to rise to
38%. Teenagers are another group of people who should be under close supervision.
Recklessness, the cause of risky behaviors
Accidents damage both life and property. From 1989, statistics show that accidents
are among the top three causes of deaths among Thai people. According to reports from the
Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in
2004, each death cost about 2.85 million baht. The cost exceeded 3 million baht per death
when the value of damaged property was included. According to a report on road accident
prevention by the World Health Organization in 2004, Thailand was ranked 11th in the world
in respect of the number of deaths caused by road accidents.
4 A survey on hygiene and welfare in 19912006 by the National Statistical Office of Thailand
5 A survey on smoking and drinking behaviors in 19912006 by the National Statistical Office of Thailand
6 The Excise Department, the Ministry of Finance
7 Kulapa Wajanasara and Kritaya Achavanijakul, 2008, (based on the statistics of five categories of criminal
cases in the kingdom, the information center of the Royal Thai Police) in the Report of Thai People’s Health in
2009
Mental illness, a deeprooted danger
Mental illness tends to rise. More Thai people are stressed. Reports on mental health
situations by the Department of Mental Health from 1997 to 2007 indicated that the
number of depression patients tended to grow. In 2004, the rate of depression patients was
140.55 per 100,000 people. In 2007, the rate rose to 196.51 per 100,000. According to
information from death certificates issued by the Ministry of Interior, the rate of successful
suicides dropped between 2001 and 2006. In 2006, the rate was only 5.7 per 100,000
people. In 2008, the successful rate edged up to 5.9 per 100,000 people. This shows that
people still have mental health problems due to various causes.
Family, the weak pillar
Family is the first and foremost institution that can help protect and promote the
wellbeing of Thai people but Thai families are still weak. Information from the Ministry of
Social Development and Human Security shows increasing divorces (about onethird of
registered marriages in 2008), domestic violence mostly from husbands to wives, as well as
abandoned children causing violence and crimes and being early pregnant. These problems
result from weak family and society.
Polluted environment, the immediate danger
Illnesses can result from environments, especially those in offices. The National
Health Security Office reported in 2008 that dangerous threats to workers’ health were
infection (with the rate of 81 per 100,000 people), chemicals and pesticides (with the rate of
18 per 100,000 people each), air pollution especially particulate matters in urban and
industrial areas, and polluted rivers (which accounted for a quarter of rivers).
Crises of food, energy and global warming, the approaching future
The shortage of food and energy and global warming are global crises. They cause
produce prices to double in three years. Oil prices soared but the oil that Thai people
consumed doubled by value in five years.8 Unless Thai people and mankind adjust
themselves right away and improve management seriously, the weather, plants and human
lives will be affected in the future.
Peaceful society, a distant dream
Violence occurs every day especially in four southern border provinces of Thailand.
Between 2007 and 2008, there were over 1,800 violent incidents in which over 4,000 people
8 The value of the enduse energy consumption of Thailand in 19932008, NESDB, BOT, EPPO

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