Introduction on Herbal Medicine Use in PHC : Thailand

Introduction

To promote the use of TTM and self-reliance on health care of the country, in 2007 the NHSO established the “Fund for the Development of Thai Traditional Medicine System” providing additional on-top funding for public health service facilities that provide TTM services in order to stimulate provision of TTM services for out-patients, especially Thai traditional medicines and herbal medicines, Thai traditional massage for therapeutic and rehabilitative purposes as well as post-partum care.  The on-top funding has gradually increased from 0.50 baht/capita in 2007 to 7.20 Baht/capita in 2012.

In 2011, the total number of times people received TTM treatment modalities in public health service facilities was 3,644,304 increasing from 2,725,896 in 2010 by 33.7%.

In 2011, there are 10,692 public health service facilities providing TTM services.  Of these, 95 are regional or general hospitals, 733 are community hospitals, and 9,864 are tambon (sub-district) health promotion hospitals (previously health stations).  

In 2010, the data of healthcare services provided in public health service facilities indicated that 81.7% were for treatment and rehabilitation and 18.3% were for health promotion and disease prevention.  Regarding services for therapeutic and rehabilitative purposes, 32.6% were Thai traditional massage, 23.5% were herbal steam bath, and 20.5% were traditional/herbal medicines.  For the coverage for the cost for services provided, 34.4% were by UC program, 23.7% were by welfare for government officials, 2.7% were by social security system, and 39.1% were paid out of patients’ own pocket.

To promote the use of herbal medicines and Thai traditional medicines in the health care system, in 2011, the list of herbal medicines in the National List of Essential Medicines was expanded from 19 items to 71 items as more licensed herbal medicinal products, traditional household remedies, and herbal hospital formularies were selected into the list.  Of those, 21 are single herbal medicine and 50 are Thai traditional medicine recipes.
Under the National Health Security system, the types of TM/CAM services covered by the Universal Health Coverage (UC) Program are as follows: -

                •    Thai traditional medicine
                      1.    The treatment and diagnosis with
                      1.1    Thai traditional medicine
                      1.2    Applied Thai traditional medicine
                      2.    The treatment and rehabilitation with
                      2.1    Traditional herbal medicines or traditional recipes composing of medicinal plant materials
                      2.2    Therapeutic massage for treatment and rehabilitation
                      2.3    Herbal steam bath for therapeutic purpose
                      2.4    Hot herbal compress for therapeutic purpose
                      2.5    Hot salt pot compress for post-partum care (newly added modality in 2012)


                •    Traditional Chinese medicine
                     o    Acupuncture


Service facilities

As previously mentioned, in 2012, there are 10,692 public health service facilities providing TTM services.  Of these, 95 are regional or general hospitals, 733 are community hospitals, and 9,864 are tambon (sub-district) health promotion hospitals (previously health stations).  

To strengthen TTM service in the health care system further, in 2011 there was an establishment of 9 pilot TTM hospitals under the Ministry of Public Health and 4 hospitals under the Ministry of Education and a Thai Traditional Medicine and Integrative Medicine Hospital in Bangkok under the administration of DTAM.  Lessons learned from the pilot TTM hospitals will pave the way for the development and establishment of more TTM hospitals nationwide in the future.