The World Health Organisation had hailed Thailand's handling of the novel coronavirus at its peak early last year, noting that cooperation and health measures are the keys to success. However, the third wave of the viral pandemic has thrown us into chaos. It has raised the number of infections to over 65,000 and deaths to more than 200, stretching the country's public health system to its limit. What can we learn from this?
A few weeks ago, the Ministry of Public Health launched a programme titled "Life Balance Smart Family" to pair singles and support soon-to-wed couples in childbearing. The policy came after Thailand was found to have the lowest total fertility rate in its history, dropping below 600,000 infant births for the first time last year. This has brought the birth rate down to 1.51, which is far below the World Health Organisation's recommendation of 2.1.