Range of medical courses aim to hike doctor numbers

Range of medical courses aim to hike doctor numbers

The Public Health Ministry will give students in neighbouring countries a chance to study conventional, traditional and alternative medicine, helping to promote Thailand as a medical hub, says Dr Sophon Mekthon, assistant to the public health minister.

He made his remark yesterday after a committee board meeting on developing Thailand as a medical hub.

Dr Sophon said the meeting agreed to open two international programmes for conventional medicine and traditional and alternative medicine which will include herbal wellness, cannabis and hemp.

Neighbouring countries can also enrol in these international programmes, Dr Sophon said. It is unclear how many enrolees they might take.

Each region will set their own curriculum.

For example, Area Health 8 will open a programme about primary medical care and wellness in Udon Thani. There will also be a herbal learning centre.

Private sector and privately-run hospitals will also take part in the programme.

The ministry's Health Service Support Department is in talks with other agencies including the Medical Council, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) and National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) to improve the curricula.

"Initially, everyone agreed that education is part of the country's soft power to generate revenue," said Dr Sophon.

Earlier on April 5, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said the cabinet had approved phase two of a plan to create more doctors in the country from 2022-2027 with a budget of 50.6 billion baht, or around 3.8 million baht per person.

The project will take place until the last group of students graduate in 2033.

It has set a target of having one doctor per 1,200 head of population by that year to boost the number of doctors in the health system.

From 2022-2027, the country needs 13,318 doctors through affiliated institutions of the MHESI and the Public Health Ministry to provide services.

Under the plan, some 23.9 billion baht will be used to produce more doctors and 26.6 billion baht will fund infrastructure for the medical programme, he said.

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