Download: ThaiHealth 2007 [Thai] [English]
 
:: Preface ::
           The 2007 issues of the Thai Health Report, like the previous three, takes a broad, multi-faceted view of health. The
flower on the cover, lamduan, is the official symbol of elderly people in Thailand, and elderly people are this year's special
topic. The reason for focusing the elderly is not, as some might guess, because the new government is composed mainly of
elderly people. Instead, it reflects current trends in the Thai population. Thailand is slowly becoming an aging society. The
proportionof the population aged 60 or over was 5.5% in 1980, 7.4% in 1990, and9.5% in 2000.

           How will population aging affect Thai society? Are elderly people a resource or a burden, or both? If they are a resource, do we recognize
them as such, and are we using their skills efficiently? If they are a burden, have we prepared adequately for the future? The Thai Health Report
contains a number of suggestions for how Thailand might get ready for an aging society.

          The ten important health issues considered in the report include, for the third time now, conflict in the South. This conflict continues to
affect the lives of people in the South and throughout Thailand. It is intractable and complex. Many different strategies for resolving the conflict
have been tried and have failed. Violence in the southern border provinces features in the news every day, and even appears to be worsening.
We can only hope that the various parties to the conflict will soon cooperate to find a solution.

          Another important health issue is the government's decision to mandate production of three patented drugs. This story is still new, and we
only just managed to include it before the Thai Health Report went to press. A complete list of the 10 important health issues in this year's report
is: 1. Should the Government Keep the Two- and Three-Digit Lotteries? 2. From Chat Room to Video Clips and Camfrog: Getting to Know Online
Life 3. The ? Facts about Medicine ? Announcement: The Conflict between the Rights of Doctors and the Rights of Patients 4. Thai Children and
Danger from Sex: More Protection Needed 5. Repeated Flooding: A Worsening Natural Disaster 6. The Fire in the South Continues after the Coup
7. Thai Students and Violence in Schools 8. The National Health Act: From Concept to Implementation 9. Banning Alcohol Advertising: A Long Way
to Go 10. Compulsory licensing of three drugs: Thai people ? s right to life is more important than profits

          A new feature this year is a series of notes on positive health-related developments in Thai society. These are all things that Thais can be
proud of. The list includes:1. Innovative wheelchairs for disabled and elderly people 2. Progress in protecting Thais from bird flu 3. Work to develop
a vaccine for dengue fever is almost finished 4. Thai students win an international competition to build a 'independent' robot.

          The report includes 14 sets of indicators measuring important health trends. One subject addressed is second hand smoke at home, a
health hazard that legislation is powerless to address, in spite of its harmful effects on children. Another is cardiovascular disease. Fully 60% of Thai
adults are have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, though many people do not know they are at risk. A third subject is gambling by
young people: one in three Thai young people gambles.

          A complete list of the 14 indicators is: (1) dementia: an Epidemic on the horizon; (2) occupational health; (3) mental illness; (4) happiness;
(5) risk factors for cardiovascular disease; (6) risk from secondhand smoke; (7) hazardous waste; (8) food supplements (9) consumer protection;
(10) income, savings, and debt; (11) the sufficiency economy; (12) Thai young people gambling to get rich quick (13) Thai young people in the
cyber age. (14) educational inequalities.

          As societies grow, and as countries become more and more closely interlinked, social problems become more complex. Solutions to these
problems accordingly require cooperation from many groups. The Thai Health Report aims to be useful to anyone involved in health. It draws
attention to health problems that are often overlooked. It offers solutions or it provides information that might help in the search for solutions.
Addressing health problems requires the participation of everyone, from all sections of society.
 

The Thai Health Report Team

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