Migrant labourers will be required to buy healthcare packages for their children under a Public Health Ministry bid to deal with health problems and the spread of infectious diseases.
Pradit: ‘Parents will pay only 1 baht a day’
The packages would cost 365 baht a year per child aged up to six years, Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong said yesterday.
"Parents will pay only one baht a day for a full healthcare package for their child," he said.
A migrant child will receive the same medical benefits as a Thai child, including a full package of vaccines, Dr Pradit said.
The healthcare packages should be available for children of both legal and illegal migrant parents, he said.
"Medical providers will offer the package without asking if the kids have legal or illegal status," he said. "It is humanitarian aid."
Starting from May, migrants who visit hospitals will be encouraged to buy packages for their children.
Dr Pradit said he believed an affordable healthcare package would help migrant children obtain proper medical treatment and would help control diseases transmitted among migrants.
Under the package, family planning and birth control schemes would be introduced. About 400,000 migrant children live in Thailand. Dr Pradit said there are about 3-4 million legal and illegal immigrants here and he hopes up to 1 million of them will end up buying the healthcare packages.
Medical services provided to migrants cost about 1.18 billion baht in hospitals in 57 provinces between 2010 and 2012. Many of them sought treatment for tuberculosis and malaria.
Dr Pradit said the healthcare package would also relieve the financial burden of hospitals.
However, Dr Pradit added that Thailand would need to find long-term solutions to solve its migrant-related problems.
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Writer: Paritta Wangkiat