700 pharmacies offer free aid for mild Covid cases

700 pharmacies offer free aid for mild Covid cases

People queue up to receive Covid-19 vaccine shots at MCC Hall, The Mall Bangkae on Wednesday as the Bangkok Expressway and Metro gives 3,000 Moderna vaccine shots to people. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
People queue up to receive Covid-19 vaccine shots at MCC Hall, The Mall Bangkae on Wednesday as the Bangkok Expressway and Metro gives 3,000 Moderna vaccine shots to people. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The National Health Security Office (NHSO) and about 700 pharmacies across the country are joining hands to reach out to Covid-19 infected patients with mild symptoms who only require home isolation and self-care.

Only patients registered under the universal health coverage scheme and the civil servant medical benefit scheme are eligible to receive this free service. Those registered under the social security scheme are not included yet.

Dr Jadej Thammatacharee, secretary-general of the NHSO, said more pharmacies are being encouraged to take part in order to service more Covid-19 patients who do not have underlying health conditions that may heighten their risk of developing severe symptoms of Covid-19.

As more pharmacies sign up, those who test positive for Covid-19 using an antigen test kit can immediately contact one nearby and begin the process of registering for home isolation and care, he said.

Aside from assisting these patients in registering for the service, the participating pharmacies are responsible for closely monitoring patients’ health for the first two days to ensure prompt response should any of them require hospitalisation, Dr Jadej said.

The pharmacies will receive a 700 baht capitation from the NHSO for each Covid-19 patient they take care of, while patients will receive professional advice about home isolation and care for the first two days, a basic package of medications for Covid-19 treatment at home, and a transfer service to the hospital if needed, he added.

If a remote or telehealth service is necessary after the two-day care provided, the participating pharmacies will receive an additional 150 baht capitation for arranging this service.

Preecha Bhandtivej, a vice president of the Pharmacy Council of Thailand, encouraged the Social Security Office to participate in this scheme so that more Covid-19 patients can enjoy the convenience of this home isolation and care service.

With the number of new infections rising, home isolation and care for patients with no or mild symptoms will help ease the burden on hospitals, whose resources should be reserved for patients with severe symptoms, he said.

Covid-19 patients eligible to receive this home isolation and care programme must be under 60 years of age. They must not be pregnant or bed-bound and have no other underlying health conditions including obesity that could heighten the risk of them developing a severe Covid-19 infection, Mr Preecha said.

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