In addition, some groups in Thai society face special health issues. Examples include the disabled, the elderly, informal workers, and Muslims. Members of these groups need to participate in the design of health services for them, so that the services meet their particular needs.
- Combating drug abuse
A drug abuse information center will be established to collate domestic and international research on drug abuse, to analyze the Thai situation, and to predict future developments. Networks will be established among youth and drug users. Support will be given to new, well-targeted methods for preventing and treating drug abuse and for rehabilitating victims. The project will identify community organizations that have achieved success in combating drug abuse, and will provide these organizations with support. It will improve coordination between the various groups working on drug abuse. Media kits for educating people about drug abuse will be developed.
Provincial Safe Food projects have been supported. Examples include the Safe Vegetable Project in Khon Kaen, which is creating an integrated system for safe vegetable production. A similar project in Chiang Mai is focusing on rice, vegetables, and edible flowers, while one in Samut Songkram is focusing on fruits and seafood. Projects are being developed to promote good nutrition for child development, and appropriate consumption among the general population. Efforts are also being made to improve coordination among the various groups working on nutrition in Thailand.
- Consumer Protection
Thailand lacks well-developed institutions for consumer protection. This project will support community groups working for consumer projection; it will support enforcement of existing laws; and it will facilitate cooperation between governmental and non-governmental organizations.
- Health Promotion for Disabled People
Five percent of the Thai population is disabled. Disabled people often lack opportunities to live independently or to earn a living because of a lack of misunderstanding among the general population. In addition, existing governmental and non-governmental services for the disabled are poorly coordinated. In response, ThaiHealth is supporting research and knowledge dissemination, and the development of action plans.
- Health Promotion for the Elderly
One in ten Thais are currently aged 60 and over. This proportion is expected to rise to one in four within 40 years. According to a study by the Medical Science for the Elderly Institute in 2001, 63% of old people in Thailand suffer from some kind of illnesses. Many older persons have problems accessing state services. The Health Promotion Plan for the Elderly will strengthen networks for elderly people, including elderly people’s organizations. It will encourage provincial-level plans for enhancing the health of older people. In addition, it will develop model care centers. These centers will bring young and old people together to promote health and develop quality of life, particularly for older people. Successful centers will be replicated elsewhere.
- Informal Sector Workers
Many Thais work in small, informal businesses, which are not included in the social security system, and which do not use formal contracts. Examples include people working in the agricultural sector, street vendors, and garbage collectors. Many of these people have dangerous or unhealthy conditions. To assist these people, ThaiHealth will advocate for policies that address their particular health needs, and will create and strengthen occupational safety networks. Particular attention will be paid to the agricultural sector, informal workers in the manufacturing sector, and garbage collectors.
- Health Promotion for Thai Muslims
Islam contains many principles on health and sanitation, which will be used to inform the project. Religious teachers, community leaders, and youth will be provided with training on health promotion. Health promotion material will be distributed through the media. Access to health services will be improved.
- Mental and Spiritual Health Promotion
The contemporary social environment leads to materialism and competitiveness. In response, a holistic view of health promotion is needed. Mental and spiritual health can be achieved through compassion, selflessness, and wisdom. ThaiHealth aims to promote mental and spiritual health, in addition to physical health. To achieve this aim, it supports the exchange and dissemination of knowledge about mental and spiritual health; it works with the media; it supports relevant policies; and it encourages the formation of networks.