Pathum Thani Model Exemplifies COVID-19 Isolation Facility, Eases Doctors’ Burdens, Reduces Community Risks

Pathum Thani Model Exemplifies COVID-19 Isolation Facility, Eases Doctors’ Burdens, Reduces Community Risks

Thailand’s COVID-19 situation, based on Disease Control Department statistics, shows that about 60 percent of new patients have had exposure to or close contact with people whose infections had been confirmed earlier.

In a bid to curb new infections and boost access to health services, the government has introduced several measures. The government has also allowed hotels to serve as quarantine facilities for people in risky groups. Moreover, the government has comprehensively expanded active-screening areas and prescribed 14-day isolation for patients under investigation (PUIs). These measures aim at preventing the spread of the disease at family, community, and national levels.

The COVID-19 Isolation Facility in Pathum Thani province emerged in response to an idea from a brainstorming session that was attended by professionals namely doctors, nurses, economists, administrators, engineers and architects from both the private and public sectors. Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ), in collaboration with TIJ Executive Program on Rule of Law & Development (RoLD) and the civil society, has promoted this isolation facility as an upstream strategy to combat the pandemic. This facility is open to PUIs who do not have a proper place to isolate from others.

Prof. Dr. Kittipong Kittayarak, executive director of Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ), describes the COVID-19 Isolation Facility Pathum Thani as an upstream strategy to deal with people at risk as well as those who have already contracted the disease.

“Our collaboration to set up our first isolation facility in Pathum Thani is rooted in our conviction that equal access to health services is important. We must make every sector understand its importance too, from individual up to community and national levels. Strategically speaking, the isolation facility is not a medical facility because it does not accommodate people infected with COVID-19. It is just a place whereby PUIs can go into proper isolation. The isolation facility constitutes a part of the upstream process to curb the spread of the virus, which could otherwise rage through a family, a community and a society. At the core of midstream strategies, meanwhile, are hospitals.  At the downstream end is the establishment of cohort hospitals.”

The COVID-19 Isolation Facility Pathum Thani admits PUIs who have undergone screenings by Pathum Thani authorities and also people who have arrived in an ambulance equipped with standard infection-prevention measures. After admission, they will have to walk along designated routes only. Nurses using personal protective equipment (PPE) will assist them in every step, pressing a lift button for them and even opening the door to their room for them. PUIs can stay at this facility free-of-charge. During their stay, they will be provided with basic amenities and three meals a day. They are also free to use the facility’s internet in contacting their family members. If they have tested negative to COVID-19 at the end of 14-day isolation, they can return home with confidence that they are not a carrier.

Importantly, the efficiency of the COVID-19 Isolation Facility Pathum Thani mainly lies with three major elements. The first refers to service providers namely medical workers, support staff, cleaners, security guards, and external coordinators. The second refers to service users or those needing a 14-day isolation. During the period, they need accommodation, food and basic health services including those designed to maintain their emotional wellbeing. The third refers to communities that should be given the right knowledge and advised on how to stay safe from COVID-19. The operations of the COVID-19 Isolation Facility Pathum Thani are indeed based on TIJ’s social-partnership model. Functioning in pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), TIJ has advocated the reduction of judicial inequality. It therefore has worked actively in ensuring that everyone can access public services – not just in regard to judicial matters but also health services. However, its work requires collaboration from all sectors, be they individuals, communities, society, the public sector or the private sector, to efficiently deliver results, as all stakeholders are crucial players for the development of a collaborative model and for equally helping all brave the current crisis.

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